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Articles Posted in Talcum Powder and Cancer

An Idaho jury recently awarded a 71-year-old Idaho woman $43.3 million verdict in a talcum powder mesothelioma cancer lawsuit alleging the defendant caused her condition by knowingly marketing its carcinogenic talc-based products. The lawsuit named New Jersey-based  pharmaceutical and cosmetics giant Johnson & Johnson as the defendant, asserting that the company knew for decades about the risk of asbestos in its Baby Powder and Shower to Shower would post to consumers but provided no warning.

The Los Angeles jury deliberated for six days before reaching its verdict, agreeing with the plaintiff that her mesothelioma cancer was caused by talc-based products manufactured and sold by Johnson & Johnson. The verdict was a repudiation of positions taken by Johnson & Johnson and its attorneys which asserted that the victim’s cancer was not caused by asbestos exposure in talc, but rather due to atmospheric exposure while living in an industrial area of Los Angeles decades earlier.

The jury’s award included $1.2 million in economic damages which includes past and future medical expenses, $6.5 million for past noneconomic damages, $20 million for the plaintiff’s husband and $12.6 million for future noneconomic damages. Jurors were presented evidence that the victim’s cancer tissue contained both anthophyllite and tremolite asbestos, which are two forms of the mineral that have been confirmed to be in Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder as well as their Shower to Shower product.

The news continues to get worse for pharmaceutical and cosmetics giant Johnson & Johnson this month after an analysis by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found that one lot of Baby Powder produced in 2018 was contaminated with asbestos fibers, prompting a recall of 33,000 bottles of the product. The analysis that discovered the asbestos in Baby Powder was conducted on behalf of the FDA by an independent laboratory run by a scientist who Johnson & Johnson has hired as an expert witness in talcum powder cancer lawsuits against the company.

That paid witness is none other than Andreas Saldivar, laboratory director of AMA Analytical Services Inc, who has served as a litigation expert on several occasions for Johnson & Johnson since 2017 in cases brought by plaintiffs who claimed they developed various forms of cancer after years of using the company’s talc-based products. In May 2018, Saldivar testified in a deposition on behalf of Johnson & Johnson and stated that testing he performed on behalf of the FDA back in 2010 showed no evidence that Baby Powder contained asbestos fibers.

In 2019, Saldivar’s lab again began testing talcum powder on behalf of the FDA and in September it tested Baby Powder samples sent to it by federal safety regulators. The testing now presents a serious challenge to Johnson & Johnson of how to discredit a single positive test for asbestos while still maintaining the integrity of one of its expert witnesses. It remains unclear how this news will affect Johnson & Johnson’s litigation efforts moving forward, including whether the company will be more likely to settle the thousands of cases pending in state and federal courts.

A new scientific report by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine suggests a strong and credible link between the use of asbestos-contaminated talcum powder products and developing malignant mesothelioma. The case study was published in the organization’s Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, looking into the cases of 33 patients confirmed to have malignant mesothelioma and whose only known exposure to asbestos may have come from using tainted talcum powder in cosmetic products.

All of the patients in the study are involved in talcum powder cancer lawsuits against cosmetics companies. The authors went into greater detail on the conditions of six patients who underwent tissue analysis showing asbestos fibers consistent with those that would be found in contaminated talcum powder. The study’s authors pointed out that the asbestos fibers discovered were not consistent with the types of asbestos fibers which would be found in industrial settings, such as insulation or other building materials.

The report is just the latest in a series of bad news for Johnson & Johnson, which currently faces an estimated 14,000 talcum powder cancer lawsuits accusing the company of knowingly manufacturing and marketing dangerous talc-based products. Thus far, juries in state and federal courts have awarded plaintiffs over $5 billion in combined compensation in trials against Johnson & Johnson, which continues to litigate cases and deny responsibility for any wrongdoing.

Pharmaceutical and cosmetics giant Johnson & Johnson was recently hit with another class action talc lawsuit, this time in Canada, over claims that a pair of its talc-based products are responsible for the plaintiffs cancer diagnosis which devastated her life. The lawsuit is just another in the estimated 14,000 Johnson & Johnson faces across the United States and now Canada, over claims that the company knowingly sold talcum powder products contaminated with deadly asbestos fibers.

The talcum powder lawsuit seeks to name the plaintiff representative of a class action lawsuit to recover $11 million in general and punitive damages for the harm suffered due to Johnson & Johnson’s negligence. Johnson & Johnson has thus far consistently denied any of its products contain asbestos fibers and have vigorously defended similar claims brought by plaintiffs in the United States alleging the same as the Canadian plaintiff.

According to the asbestos cancer lawsuit filed in a Calgary, Canada claims court, the plaintiff developed ovarian cancer after years of using Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower talcum powder products. Specifically, the plaintiff claims she used Johnson & Johnson’s Shower to Shower from the ages of 13 to 36 years old, later undergoing a series of surgeries and a hysterectomy in the 1990s, which she attributes to asbestos in the product.

A New Jersey state jury recently handed down a substantial $37.3 million verdict to a group of plaintiffs who claim they developed mesothelioma cancer from years of using talcum powder products that the defendants allegedly knew contained asbestos fibers. The jury handed down the asbestos cancer verdict after two months of testimony, deciding that pharmaceutical and cosmetics giant Johnson & Johnson knowingly developed and marketed a dangerous product to consumers but provided no warning labels to consumers about the risks.

According to the talcum powder cancer lawsuit, filed in a Middlesex, New Jersey Superior Court, the four plaintiffs all developed serious forms of cancer as a result of their parents using talc-based products, such as Baby Powder and Shower to Shower, on them as children. The trial took place in Brunswick, New Jersey, the headquarters for Johnson & Johnson, which currently faces thousands of similar trials in state and federal courts across the country.

Attorneys for the plaintiff presented evidence to the jury appearing to show that executives at Johnson & Johnson knew for decades about the presence of asbestos fibers in the talc used to create its iconic Baby Powder and Shower to Shower. The plaintiffs highlighted internal company tests, which showed the presence of asbestos in the talc, discussed in the memos as proof the company knowingly sold a dangerous product without warning innocent victims.

A California-based cosmetics company recently initiated a recall of four of its makeup products over asbestos-contamination concerns. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), consumers are advised to immediately cease using four products produced by Beauty Plus Global Inc after testing  by the FDA revealed those items showed asbestos contamination. Those products in the company’s City Color makeup range are:

  • Matte blush (fuchsia);
  • Cosmetics timeless beauty palette;

A New Jersey federal judge held key evidentiary hearings in coordinated pretrial proceedings covering thousands of asbestos talcum powder lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson through the process of multidistrict litigation (MDL). Lawsuits involved in MDL allow both sides to conduct common discovery in cases to apply rules at trial which will apply at trial for all the individual cases, a procedure which may benefit both plaintiffs and defendants depending on the judge’s rulings.

Of particular importance to the pretrial MDL hearings in the asbestos cancer lawsuits are the expert witnesses identified by the plaintiffs to testify at trial. Those expert witnesses include biologists, physicians and epidemiologists who have concluded there is scientific evidence that talc use can cause ovarian cancer. Back in May 2019, Johnson & Johnson asked the federal judge overseeing the MDL process to exclude the opinions of 22 expert witnesses retained by the plaintiff on the grounds these individuals “they misapply scientific principles” and “engage in unsupported leaps of logic.”

Attorneys for Johnson & Johnson have said in media interviews that an exclusion of some or all of the plaintiffs’ witnesses along with a judge’s ruling there is insufficient evidence of causation to present to any jury would wipe out the majority of the cases before they could see a courtroom. On the other hand, the plaintiffs’ lawyers have asked the judge to deny Johnson & Johnson’s request, arguing their expert witnesses are qualified and rely on sound methodologies to reach their opinions.

A federal judge recently denied a request by pharmaceutical and cosmetics giant Johnson & Johnson to transfer thousands of asbestos cancer lawsuits from various state courts under one single federal court. The move comes after Johnson & Johnson’s one-time co-defendant and talc supplier, Imerys Talc USA, declared bankruptcy in the face of an estimated 14,000 other asbestos cancer lawsuits filed against the pair over allegations the two produced carcinogenic talc-based products for decades.

Johnson & Johnson had asked a Delaware federal district court judge to transfer some 2,400 talcum powder asbestos cancer lawsuits to her court in the wake of co-defendant Imerys filing for federal Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Had Johnson & Johnson been granted the motion, the company would have been able to conduct common discovery on the asbestos cancer lawsuits under a unified jurisdiction, potentially giving the company more leverage to settle or otherwise resolve the claims.

“The judges in the states who are already handling these cases are better suited to hear the claims before them than is this Court, which would have to hear thousands of cases and apply different state laws to each,” the federal judge said. The judge’s ruling noted her federal court did not have the authority over the lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson due to the fact that the company’s co-defendant filed for bankruptcy in that court and that it failed to establish the lawsuits against it affect Imerys and the bankruptcy proceedings.

A popular young YouTube star and celebrity babysitter recently had her children’s-makeup line pulled from store shelves after testing by the Food and Drug Administration confirmed the products are contaminated with cancer-causing asbestos fibers. The FDA took to Twitter to announce, “Today, the FDA is releasing new results from its continued testing of cosmetic products for asbestos & is warning consumers to not use 2 additional products that have tested positive for asbestos & have been recalled.”

The FDA urged parents to be on the lookout for the makeup kits, which contain candy colored eyeshadow palette, two lip glosses, and nail polish, and has been on sale since March 2018 at Claire’s retail stores. The move comes just a few months after Claire’s was forced to recall other makeup products after media investigations found those makeup lines also contained asbestos and other toxic substances.

Asbestos is a deadly cancer-causing mineral once used in a variety of industrial, commercial, and military applications because of its heat-resistant properties and ability to be molded into almost any shape to fit the job. While the federal government has heavily regulated asbestos since the 1980s to the point that is still used, thousands of people suffer the after-effects of asbestos exposure every year.

Reports recently surfaced that the U.S. Department of Justice is investigating whether or not pharmaceutical and cosmetics giant Johnson & Johnson new about the risks its talc-based products posed to consumers but chose not to warn the public. The criminal probe comes as Johnson & Johnson faces thousands of lawsuits in civil courts across the country brought by plaintiffs who claim they developed various forms of cancer, including mesothelioma, from using the company’s talcum powder products.

A federal grand jury in Washington state is currently examining internal company documents related to what Johnson & Johnson knew about the presence of asbestos fibers or other carcinogens in its talcum powder products like Baby Powder and Shower to Shower. While talcum powder products make up only a small part of the company’s sales, they nonetheless have been a core brand for Johnson & Johnson for over a century.

Johnson & Johnson had disclosed to shareholders in February that the company received subpoenas from the Justice Department but those documents did not mention a grand jury had been convened nor whether the matter was of a criminal or civil nature. In response to the developments, Johnson & Johnson executives released a statement saying, “We have been fully cooperating with the previously disclosed DOJ investigation and will continue to do so. Johnson’s Baby Powder does not contain asbestos or cause cancer, as supported by decades of independent clinical evidence.”

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