More families were victorious earlier this month when 22 women and their loved ones won a mesothelioma lawsuit against giant company Johnson & Johnson after it failed to warn its customers that its talc products could cause life-threatening illnesses, such as malignant mesothelioma.
According to the Associated Press (AP), a jury at the St. Louis Circuit Court in Missouri not only awarded the plaintiffs $500 million in compensatory damages, but also punitive damages of $4.14 billion. The verdict was handed down on July 12.
Carol Goodrich, the company’s spokesperson for Johnson & Johnson, continues to defend the company, stating that Johnson & Johnson’s products do not contain dangerous asbestos.
“Johnson & Johnson remains confident that its products do not contain asbestos and do not cause ovarian cancer and intends to pursue all available appellate remedies. Every verdict against Johnson & Johnson in this court that has gone through the appeals process has been reversed and the multiple errors present in this trial were worse than those in the prior trials which have been reversed.”
The jury disagreed. Several medical experts testified that asbestos is indeed “intermingled” with talc. Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower products’ primary ingredient is talc. Further, the plaintiffs’ asbestos lawyers testified that medical records showed that asbestos fibers were found in many of the plaintiff’s ovarian tissues.
“We hope this verdict will get the attention of the J&J board and that it will lead them to better inform the medical community and the public about the connection between asbestos, talc, and ovarian cancer,” one of the plaintiff’s lawyer’s said. “The company should pull talc from the market before causing further anguish, harm, and death from a terrible disease.”
According to The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, one of the plaintiff’s said that although there have been previous cases against Johnson & Johnson, this was the first case where jurors were provided documentation that proved the company knew the products contained asbestos, yet decided against warning its consumers.
Related Reading: Mesothelioma victims win $25M lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson
Asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral, but it’s been proven to cause fatal illnesses, including mesothelioma, asbestosis, and asbestos-related lung cancer. Yet, the company continues to deny that any of its products can cause cancer, despite over 9,000 women filing lawsuits after developing ovarian cancer.
Of the 22 plaintiffs, six of them have since passed away from ovarian cancer. Their families will receive the compensation on their behalf.
One of the plaintiffs and victims of cancer, 73-year-old Gail Ingham of O’Fallon, Missouri, Ingham, used baby powder for decades. She became a part of the lawsuit because she feels any person who uses Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder should be aware of the dangers.
[They] need to know what’s in there. They need to know what’s going on. Women need to know because they’re putting it on their babies.”
Another plaintiff, Toni Roberts, of Virginia, said she felt like “justice has been served,” while plaintiff Cecilia Martinez, of Dallas, hopes that the company “make changes to protect mothers and babies.”
One of the jurors said that the jury decided on the high compensation amount against the company in order to send a clear message.
We were just trying to find something they would feel.”
Johnson & Johnson earned around $70 million from its Baby Powder product within the last year alone. The jury multiplied the $70 by the 43 years the company has been claiming to not know their product contained cancer-causing ingredients.
There has been no indication as to whether the company plans to continue selling its talc products, although one of the plaintiffs’ lawyers said that Johnson & Johnson “should pull talc from the market before causing further anguish, harm, and death from a terrible disease.”
The cases against Johnson & Johnson continue to develop. Please check back with Mesothelioma Lawyer Center for additional
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