California Jury Orders J&J to Pay $29 Million in Talc-Linked Cancer Trial

March 13, 2019

Johnson & Johnson must pay $29 million to a dying California woman who blamed asbestos-tainted talc for causing her cancer, the company’s latest loss over its iconic baby powder.

Jurors in state court in Oakland, California, on Wednesday held J&J responsible for Teresa Leavitt’s mesothelioma, a cancer linked to asbestos exposure. The panel, which included a lawyer and a state-court judge, also found the world’s largest maker of health-care products didn’t warn Leavitt its baby powder was tainted with the carcinogen.

The verdict is J&J’s seventh trial loss over claims it hid the health risks of its baby powder for 50 years. It’s the first defeat since a Missouri jury ordered the company last year to pay $4.69 billion to 22 women who blamed their cancer on the product.

Kim Montagnino, a spokeswoman for J&J, didn’t immediately respond to a call and email seeking comment on the verdict against the company.

J&J still faces more than 13,000 lawsuits claiming its 135-year-old baby powder line caused mesothelioma and ovarian cancer. That’s up from more than 11,000 as of last year. It has more than two dozen trials scheduled around the U.S. this year.

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