In January, the country of Sri Lanka took the steps to protect its citizens that the United States government has failed to do by banning the import of Johnson & Johnson baby powder. This comes amid increasing proof of asbestos contamination in the company’s iconic product; proof proved through thousands of lawsuits filed by victims and a recent blockbuster investigative report by Reuters.
The first lawsuit filed against the company was in 1999 by a 52-year-old Texas mother who was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a fatal cancer that was spreading through her lungs and other organs. Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos and, at the time, was a rare diagnosis. The only known victims were mostly men who worked in industries where they regularly inhaled asbestos, such as railroads, mines, and shipbuilding.
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The victim was determined to find out how she had been exposed to the deadly substance before she died and hired a personal injury law firm for help. The firm conducted an extensive investigation and determined that the asbestos was contained in the talc that was in the very product that the victim had used on her children when they were babies and on herself all her adult life – Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder.
The law firm attempted to get the results of testing the company had done on the powder, but the court denied that request and the lawsuit was eventually dropped. Twenty years later, almost 12,000 victims have filed lawsuits against the company, alleging that the talc the company uses in their powders causes their cancers. Thousands of those victims are women with ovarian cancer. Because of all of these legal actions, Johnson & Johnson have been forced to produce the very documents that the original lawsuit was asking for: boxes of the company’s internal reports, memos, and other confidential documents that reveal the company knew how deadly their powders were.
These documents, as well as testimony that has taken place during depositions and trials in past and current lawsuits, reveal that for more than three decades, there were multiple product tests that showed both raw talc and finished powders tested positive for asbestos, leaving the company’s executives, scientists, doctors, mine managers, and attorneys wrangling over how to deal with this potentially fatal hazard. What they never considered is letting the government and public know the results of these tests. And despite the verdicts handed out to victims over and over again, the company still denies any liability or wrongdoing.
Some of the most recent verdicts include the following:
- Two weeks ago, a California jury awarded $24.4 million to a woman who filed suit against Johnson & Johnson after she was diagnosed with mesothelioma, she said was a result of using the company’s powder for years. The jury also awarded $5 million to her husband.
- In July of last year, a Missouri jury awarded $4.69 billion to 22 women who had developed ovarian cancer they said was caused by daily use of the company’s powder. The company filed an appeal to get the verdict overturned, but that motion was denied.
- In April 2018, a New Jersey man was awarded $117 million after proving to the jury that he developed mesothelioma after a lifetime use of the company’s talcum powder.
In many of these lawsuits, juries are not only awarding damages to victims to cover compensatory losses (money to “compensate” for the losses the victim suffers, such as medical costs, loss of income, pain and suffering, etc.), but they are also ordering the company to pay victims punitive damages (money the defendant must pay as a “punishment” because their actions that caused the victim harm was particularly egregious).
Contact a Virginia Injury Attorney for Help
If you or a loved one was diagnosed with mesothelioma or ovarian cancer after regularly using talcum powder products, contact a skilled Virginia talcum powder cancer lawsuit attorney immediately. Our team of experienced personal injury and wrongful death lawyers are investigating and accepting talc powder cancer cases. We may seek to include your case in a talc powder cancer class action, or we could represent you or a loved one individually. Due to the possible statute of limitations placed on filing a talcum powder cancer lawsuit, it is important to contact our office today.