Oakland, CA – California Jury Awards $29M In Baby Powder Cancer Case

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    FILE - A container of Johnson's Baby powder, by multinational Johnson & Johnson, is pictured in Brisbane, Australia, 25 February 2016. EPAOakland, CA – Johnson & Johnson must pay $29 million to a woman who claimed its baby powder gave her terminal cancer, a California jury ruled Wednesday.

    A Superior Court jury in Oakland found the world’s largest health care company mainly liable for Teresa Leavitt’s mesothelioma. The verdict said that the baby powder was a “substantial contributing factor” in her illness.

    Her suit is one of many that link cancers to asbestos in Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based products and contend that the company concealed the health risk for decades.

    Requests for comment from the New Jersey-based comment were not immediately answered.

    Johnson & Johnson is facing some 13,000 similar lawsuits around the country.

    The company has insisted that its talc-based products are demonstrably safe but it has lost a string of court cases.

    Last year, a Los Angeles jury awarded $25.7 million to a woman who blamed her cancer on the powder.

    A jury in Missouri last year awarded $4.69 million to 22 women.

    Johnson & Johnson’s stock price dropped nearly 2 percent after hours on Wednesday before recovering to close at $139.41.

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    5 COMMENTS

    1. I have questions about the cancer and relating it to Johnson powder. Millions, and millions of people from babies on to senior citizens use Johnson powder and other products, and they can only find 13,000 that acquired cancer from the powder. I am not calling out their cancer, and I have sympathy for those people, but maybe the cancer is from other things than Johnson power and its products since millions of people use that product all over the globe and only 13,000 so far have declared it gave them cancer which is hard to prove. But since we are suing happy and it is a very large company it seems to be a safe bet for some money.

    2. To #1- You are an idiot; scientific evidence, which was substantiated, was introduced at the trial, and accepted by the jurors, to conclusively prove that Johnson’s baby powder caused the the cancer in the plaintiff. Essentially, you were saying that “I know people who smoke, and live until their 90’s”. Yet, you ignore the thousands of other people who develop lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, and other cancers, as well as heart disease and strokes from smoking.

      • So how come they are still selling it? Why is it still on the shelf?
        Why doesn’t it have huge warnings about the dangers it has / might have?
        This seems to open more questions than answers me.

      • It is extraordinarily difficult to “conclusively prove” that Johnson’s baby powder caused the the cancer in the plaintiff.”
        You can show an association, an increased risk, etc. but “conclusively prove” is all but impossible. Yes there was “scientific evidence” entered into evidence but jurors are sympathetic to individuals suffering from horrible diseases.

    3. These are awkward lawsuits because the allegation is that asbestos contaminants cause certain cancers decades later in life. The actual 1976 government study did not find (any significant) asbestos in J&J powder for the years 1972-1973, but there were occasional findings of some asbestos in some samples by *other* labs for the years 1972-1975 that the 1976 government study ignored. But the problem is that internal J&J records showed (as early as 1971) that there were those inside the company that suspected it may contain asbestos particularly because some of the mines where it came from may (or probably did) contain asbestos. The company lobbied the government to not start a panic by overreacting, so much of these lawsuits points to guilt through J&J lobbying the government.

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