Pharma giant Johnson & Johnson suffered yet another major legal setback on Wednesday when it was ordered to pay $29 million to a woman who says the company’s baby powder gave her terminal cancer.
A Superior Court jury in Oakland, Calif., found that the powder was a “substantial contributing factor” in Teresa Leavitt’s mesothelioma.
Johnson & Johnson continues to claim that its talc-based products are safe and does not cause cancer despite massive losses in court. The company is planning to appeal the latest setback, claiming “serious procedural and evidentiary errors” were made during the trial.
“We respect the legal process and reiterate that jury verdicts are not medical, scientific or regulatory conclusions about a product,” the company said in a statement.
The New Jersey-based company is facing 13,000 similar lawsuits around the country. Last year a Los Angeles jury awarded $25.7 million to a woman who blamed her cancer on the powder, and a jury in Missouri awarded $4.69 million to 22 women.
The judgment for Leavitt came after a nine-week trial that featured multiple experts on both sides.
“Yet another jury has rejected J&J’s misleading claims that its talc was free of asbestos,” said Moshe Maimon, a lawyer for Leavitt. “The internal J&J documents that the jury saw, once more laid bare the shocking truth of decades of cover-up, deception and concealment by J&J.”
Leavitt said she used Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower and was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2017. Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer that is caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibers.