In December 2018, documents came to light showing that Johnson & Johnson has long had concerns about its talc-based products containing small amounts of asbestos. Some of these concerns date as far back as the 1970s. Now, the company is facing more than 13,000 lawsuits from consumers who claim to have been harmed by those products. Louisville residents might be interested to learn that one of those lawsuits has ended in a $29.4 million settlement.
The plaintiff was a California woman who claimed that the J&J baby powder she used regularly in the 1960s and 1970s had caused her to develop mesothelioma. She was diagnosed with this asbestos-related cancer in 2017. The jury awarded her the $29.4 million settlement after determining that the products were indeed defective.
J&J says it will be appealing the judgment because the conclusions were based on "serious procedural and evidentiary errors." Pointing out that jury verdicts are not the same as scientific, medical or regulatory conclusions about a product, it denies that its talc powder contains asbestos or is responsible for health problems.
Besides mesothelioma, the use of J&J baby powder has been linked to cases of ovarian cancer. In 2018, 22 women were awarded $4.7 billion in a lawsuit against J&J. More than $4 billion of that consisted of punitive damages.
Those who develop an asbestos-related illness because of a dangerous consumer product may want to meet with an attorney to learn more about the recourse that they might have. In some cases, an advisable course might be to file a products liability lawsuit against the manufacturer.