Billions Of Dollars Are At stake Over The Outcomes Of Trials Against Johnson & Johnson
At issue is whether or not the talc used in Johnson's Baby Powder contains asbestos or other natural occurring carcinogenic material
Tuesday, September 25, 2018 - The presence of carcinogenic materials or lack thereof is becoming more and more central to each case. Plaintiffs are relying on the testimony of scientists whose tests indicate the presence of carcinogens in talc while the defense tries to discredit these scientists and bring their own expert testimony before the jury. Which experts a jury believes may come down to the credibility and objectivity of the expert.
So far plaintiffs have been able to point to the work of Dr. Steven Compton, a researcher for MVA Scientific Consultants in Duluth, Georgia, who found that 8 in 10 Italian talc mine samples, as well as six out of seven taken in Vermont, the talc tested positive for asbestos. Dr. Compton and his team of scientists use powerful state-of-the-art microscopes to analyze fibers that cannot be seen by the human eye. Compton agreed that he could "unequivocally identify asbestos fibers in Johnson & Johnson Italian and Vermont talc." Dr. Luongo also confirmed that dozens of Johnson & Johnson memos discussed asbestos in the talc supply. "There are 70 documents that use the words tremolite and amphibole. You have one that talks about fibers, then you have ones that say absolutely this is asbestos. From what I've seen, maybe a dozen." Another key point in favor of those claiming talc is carcinogenic is that in 1978, scientific studies pointed in papers written by the National Institute of health that "findings of silica minerals in samples of commercial body powders and that inhaled powder could cause scarring of lung tissue, mesothelioma or lung cancer. About half of the samples contained respirable quartz, a lung carcinogen." For decades JNJ has warned consumers to "Keep powder away from child's face to avoid inhalation which can cause breathing problems. Avoid contact with the eyes. For external use only." Plaintiffs could argue that the warning was a clear indication that talc was indeed detrimental to one's health.
Thousands of women have filed suit alleging Johnson's Baby Powder has caused their ovarian or lung cancer after using the product on a regular basis for their entire life. Hundreds of millions of dollars in punitive damages have been awarded to ovarian cancer patients or their estates as well as billions awarded to others that have shown that Johnson's Baby Powder contains asbestos or other carcinogenic materials and that the material "substantially contributed" to their disease.
Two cases are currently underway. One has just begun and the other is currently in jury deliberations. One of the defendants Imreys Talc Inc. has chosen to settle the cases against them rather than subject themselves to being responsible for one-third of what could be a billion-dollar jury award. Carolyn Weirick is asking for $29 million plus punitive damages for her suffering at the hands of Johnson's Baby Powder. Johnson & Johnson was found liable for conspiracy in a St. Louis talcum powder cancer lawsuit case.