The jury determined that Johnson & Johnson knew its baby powder contained asbestos in New Jersey’s first talc asbestos trial.
A Middlesex County, New Jersey jury ordered Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and the talc company, Imerys Talc America (ITA), to pay $117 million in damages to a local couple after the husband developed mesothelioma after three decades of using asbestos-contaminated talcum powder. Plaintiff Stephen Lanzo used J&J products like Shower to Shower and Baby Powder. In New Jersey’s first talc asbestos case, the jury found that J&J Consumer, Inc. and ITA failed to adequately warn consumers that the powders contained asbestos and that J&J had a safer alternative design using cornstarch.
Company documents used as evidence during the trial revealed that J&J created “Project 101” in 1969. Project 101 showed that J&J’s talc Baby Powder contained asbestos and that it could cause cancer. In addition, Project 101 warned that in “40 years: the company could face litigation.” ITA, Johnson & Johnson’s talc supplier in North America, found asbestos in the Vermont talc mines in 1975. Nevertheless, the company purchased the mines and sold the talc for use in J&J’s Baby Powder.
Talc, Asbestos, and Mesothelioma
Tremolite asbestos has been shown to cause mesothelioma, a malignant form of cancer that attacks the membrane that lines the chest, abdominal cavity, or heart. Talc, a common ingredient in cosmetics, baby powder, and many other products, has repeatedly been found to be contaminated with tremolite asbestos. Individuals who have used asbestos-contaminated products and later developed mesothelioma have brought suit against manufacturers that utilize talc in their products, such as Johnson & Johnson.
Roughly 3,200 U.S. residents are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year. Asbestos exposure is the only known cause. While the majority of mesothelioma sufferers have workplace exposure, others have only encountered asbestos via talc-based products.
How Waters Kraus & Paul Can Help
Waters Kraus & Paul has decades of experience when it comes to holding asbestos manufacturers and distributors accountable for their part in causing mesothelioma. Our asbestos attorneys have successfully prosecuted cases for clients across the U.S. and abroad. We provide aggressive representation throughout the entire course of mesothelioma litigation. To learn more about legal representation at Waters Kraus & Paul, or to have one of our attorneys review your potential mesothelioma case, email us or call 800.226.9880.