Johnson & Johnson Hit With $29 Million Verdict in Talc Cancer Case


A California jury has awarded $29 million to a woman who claimed talcum-powder-based Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) products caused her cancer.

The company is now fighting two asbestos-related lawsuits in New Jersey and Oklahoma courts, and two more trials could begin this month, the UBS analysts said. J&J says it will appeal the judgment.

A California jury ordered pharma giant Johnson & Johnson Wednesday to pay $29 million over a claim the company's talc baby powder contained cancer-causing asbestos. They said their baby powder "is safe and asbestos-free".

Mesothelioma is a bad form of cancer (as if any form of cancer isn't terrible) and Johnson & Johnson will have to do a much better job of convincing juries that their products don't cause cancer. The company cited "serious procedural and evidentiary errors" and said it has already moved for a mistrial on eight points.

The petitioner, Terry Leavitt, said she used Johnson's Baby Powder and Shower to Shower during the 1960s and 1970s before being diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2017.

The shares of healthcare major Johnson and Johnson fell almost 2 percent on Thursday's premarket trading after the company was ordered to pay $29 million to a woman whose cancer was attributed to the asbestos contained in the company's talcum-powder products. After two days of deliberation, the jury found that J&J talc-based products were defective and caused Leavitt's mesothelioma, and that the company had failed to warn consumers about the risks.

Johnson & Johnson is facing over 13,000 more cases stemming from asbestos-contaminated talcum powder. The jury decided against awarding punitive damages, which are created to punish the defendants - in this case Johnson & Johnson and the other companies involved in making the talcum powder - for reckless or negligent behavior. It's the first defeat since a Missouri jury ordered the company past year to pay $4.69 billion to 22 women who blamed their cancer on the product.

The panel found J&J responsible for 78 percent of Leavitt's award and its consumer products unit is on the hook for 20 percent. 'The internal J&J documents that the jury saw, once more laid bare the shocking truth of decades of cover- up, deception and concealment by J&J'. "Thousands of independent tests by regulators and the world's leading labs prove our baby powder has never contained asbestos".

The company has insisted that its talc-based products are demonstrably safe. Johnson & Johnson won three other cases and another five ended in hung juries.