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TOXIC TORT: JOHNSON & JOHNSON PREVAIL ON ANOTHER TALC CASE

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A Los Angeles County jury returned a verdict in favor of Johnson & Johnson (“J&J”) in a case brought by Amy Fong (“Plaintiff”) alleging that she developed mesothelioma from use of J&J’s talc-containing products (Fong v. Johnson & Johnson, BC675449). J&J reports that it has now received four consecutive verdict favoring J&J in these types of cases and eighth defense verdict of 2019, which is a good sign as it has also been reported that J&J currently faces over 16,000 lawsuits involving alleged harm caused by talc contained in its products.

Plaintiff, 48 years of age, contends that her terminal disease was caused by years of exposure to asbestos contained in J&J’s talc-based Baby Powder, which she has used during her childhood and later in life after moving to the United States.

The trial lasted for two-months and hinged on the scientific fact of whether the J&J Baby Powder used by Plaintiff actually contained asbestos. Plaintiff’s attorney pointed to testing results showing talc mined in both Korea and Vermont contained asbestos fibers, and these facilities were believed to have supplied talc to J&J for its use in its products. On the other side, J&J’s attorneys argued that there is no asbestos in its cosmetic talc, and therefore, Plaintiff’s mesothelioma could not have been caused by her use of its products. The company’s attorneys pointed to more than 40 years of scientific evidence to support its position. J&J further pointed to routine testing that is performed to ensure that asbestos was not contained in the talc used in its products.

Only a week after its victory in the Fong case, J&J received more good news from a jury in Missouri, which also ruled in favor of the company in a case brought Vicki Forrest claiming that asbestos caused her to develop ovarian cancer. The Missouri victory is notable because this same venue previously awarded $4.7 billion to 22 women and their families in a similar brought against J&J.

J&J reports that it has now received four consecutive verdict favoring J&J in these types of cases and eighth defense verdict of 2019. What makes these two recent victories even more compelling is that they came after J&J voluntarily recalled 33,000 bottles of its Baby Powder product after trace amounts of asbestos contamination where allegedly found by the FDA.

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