J&J Cleared of Mesothelioma Claim in Talc Trial

Jane Akre
November 16, 2017

Mesh Medical Device News Desk, November 16, 2017 ~ The California talc trial would be the first in a series of cases against Johnson & Johnson over its talcum powder, claiming the talc caused mesothelioma, a lung disease related to asbestos.

The jury deliberated two days to deny the claim in this talc trial.

Tina and Doug Herford claimed that Imerys supplied the talc used to make Johnson and Johnson's Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower. Four weeks ago they took that claim before a California state court jury.

After an initial mistrial, due to a mention of the powder's alleged link to ovarian cancer, opening arguments began again October 20th before Judge C. Edward Simpson in Los Angeles County Superior Court in Pasadena.

Thursday, the jury decided, not just for J&J but for its talc supplier, Imerys Talc America Inc.

J&J told Reuters the company is pleased with the outcome. In a statement it said, "Johnson's Baby Powder has been around since 1894 and it does not contain asbestos or cause mesothelioma or ovarian cancer."

J&J publishes 5 Facts about Talc on its website (here).

Herford claims she used Baby Powder and Shower to Shower beginning in the 1950's.

In 2016, she was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a deadly lung disease generally associated in people who work around asbestos. Mesothelioma, which can also occur elsewhere around the body, takes decades to grow in the body after exposure.

The plaintiffs asserted that J&J used talc tainted with asbestos, which occurs naturally in talc deposits.

Chris Panatier, Greenstone Panatier

Plaintiffs' attorney Chris Panatier, of Greenstone Panatier Bartlett PC, said J&J has known for decades its talcum powder contained asbestos and instead of telling the public, intentionally concealed that information.

Tests on the J&J talc products showed 250,000 fibers of asbestos per gram on average. Panatier asked the jurors for $24 million in compensation.

Sharla Frost, partner Tucker Ellis

Sharla Frost of Tucker Ellis, representing J&J, countered that Herford had treatment for breast cancer and underwent extensive radiation treatment and that led to her mesothelioma.

The attorney for Imerys told jurors the talc they mined for J&J never contained asbestos.

While a series of personal injury cases has been won by plaintiffs who claim J&J's talcum powder caused their ovarian cancer, this was the first to claim the asbestos contained in the talc caused her fatal lung cancer.

Had the plaintiffs been successful, it could have opened the door to similar complaints.

from Beasley Allen website

Meanwhile, juries have delivered hundreds of millions of dollars to women or their estates (in the case of those who have died) who claim the powders are linked to ovarian cancer.

J&J still has no warning on its baby powder and personal hygiene powders, unlike other powder makers whose label contains a warning about a possible link to ovarian cancer with extended use.

The talc-ovarian cancer litigation has grown to more than 5,000 plaintiffs with most of the personal injury litigation heard in St. Louis, Missouri. ###


MND, Latest $417 Million Case Against J&J Tossed, October 21, 2017

MND, $72 Million Talc Case Tossed on Appeal, October 18, 2017

MND, SCOTUS Decision Forces Talc PL out of MO Court, September 20, 2017

CVN on Herford Trial

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