Johnson & Johnson: the woman who won a US $ 29 million lawsuit against after reporting the products that caused her cancer

Johnson & Johnson: the woman who won a US $ 29 million lawsuit against after reporting the products that caused her cancer


The plaintiff said she had used talcum powder for babies of Johnson & Johnson in the 60s and 70s.

The first trial of 2019 against Johnson & Johnson was a defeat for the personal care and health products giant.

A jury in California, United States, ordered the company to pay US $ 29.4 million to a woman who claims that two of her talcs caused cancer.

In 2017, Terry Leavitt developed mesothelioma, a type of neoplasm that appears in the tissues that cover the internal organs of the body and that is linked to exposure to asbestos.

This mineral, according to the plaintiff and her lawyers, was present in the baby talc and J & J’s Shower to Shower, which the woman used in the 60s and 70s.

Of the US $ 29.4 million, US $ 5 million will go to Dean McElroy, husband of Leavitt, for “marital damages”.

Leavitt’s complaint against J & J is only the first of more than 10 that the authorities plan to prosecute in 2019.

Talc loose
Copyright of the GETTY IMAGES image
Image caption The specialists claim that there is no conclusive evidence of the link between talc and cancer.

J & J faces nearly 13,000 lawsuits in the US related to the use of their products as an alleged cause of ovarian cancer or mesothelioma.

The company denies that its products contain asbestos and causes cancer, and announced that it will appeal this last ruling, as it has done with previous verdicts.

“98% guilty”

In December, the Reuters news agency reported that “J & J knew that the talc and raw talc products sometimes yielded positive results for small amounts of asbestos, between 1970 and 2000,” but that “it did not show the results to regulators or consumers ”

In response to the publication, J & J said on its website that the article was “false and inflammatory” and “baby powder is safe and free from asbestos.”

The verdict in the Leavitt case is the first to be issued by the US justice after this report.

The jury concluded Wednesday that “the J & J talcum products used by Leavitt were defective” and that “the company did not warn consumers about the health risks,” the Reuters news agency reported.

Woman touching her belly.
Copyright of the GETTY IMAGES image
Image caption Thousands of women say that using Johnson & Johnson talcum powder for years caused them ovarian cancer or mesothelioma.


According to the law firm Levy Konigsberg, which represented Leavitt, the jury said J & J was “98% responsible for the mesothelioma” of the woman.

The remaining 2% attributed it to the Mining Corporation Cyprus, supplier of talc J & J.

Moshe Maimon, one of Leavitt’s lawyers, said in a statement sent to Reuters on Wednesday that “another jury has rejected J & J’s misleading claims that its talc is asbestos-free.”

“The J & J internal documents that the jury saw once again revealed the amazing truth of decades of cover-up, deception and concealment,” Maimon added.

“Procedural errors”

J & J said in a statement that there had been “serious procedural and evident errors” during the trial and that Leavitt’s lawyers had not shown that their talcs had asbestos, according to the Courtroom View page, which broadcast the final hearing live.

Asbestos stone
Copyright of the GETTY IMAGES image
Image caption It is proven that asbestos is harmful to health.

“Their own experts admit that they do not recognize the accepted definition of asbestos and that they ignore the crucial distinctions between the minerals that are asbestos and the minerals that are not,” the company said.

“We respect the legal process and reiterate that the verdicts of a jury are not medical, scientific or regulatory conclusions about a product,” he said.

J & J also said he will appeal the decision of the California jury.

Other cases

Of the other 11 complaints that have already been settled against J & J for asbestos contamination, the plaintiffs have won three and J & J also three, and in five other cases the jury did not reach a verdict, Reuters said.

In one of the cases that J & J lost, in July 2018, a judge in Missouri ordered the firm to pay compensation of US $ 4,700 million to 22 women who claimed that the asbestos present in the brand’s powders caused them ovarian cancer .

Johnson & Johnson Shampoo Knobs
Copyright of the REUTERS image
Image caption Johnson & Johnson is one of the world’s largest personal care and health products companies.

However, specialists say there is no conclusive evidence of the link between talc and cancer.

The British association Ovacome, which helps women with cancer in the UK, believes that “there is no consistent evidence to show that the more talc is used, the higher the risk of ovarian cancer . 

Ovacome points out that even studies that point out that the use of talcum powder does pose a risk of ovarian cancer, are limited to talking about an increase of about a third.

But other associations and organizations that investigate cancer warn that there is great uncertainty about the relationship between the cosmetic use of dust and ovarian cancer.

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Rava Desk

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