Johnson & Johnson has won a major litigation that threatened to strike a major blow to one of its most popular products. A jury of a first trial court in New Jersey was managed ot be persuaded by the company that its iconic baby powder did not contain cancer-causing asbestos as had been alleged by a woman in the litigation against the product.
Carol Goodrich, a spokeswoman for J&J said that the claims by complainer Rosalind Henry were dismissed by the jurors in New Brunswick, New Jersey, after deliberating the case for less than a day. The complaint had alleged that J&J had intentionally sold its baby powder even though it was aware that it had traces of asbestos which the complaint defined as a carcinogen. On earlier occasions, there were two mistrials in California where jurors couldn’t reach a verdict on the same issue.
This win could help the company to turn in its favour the litigation related to the talc against which the company had been fined a total of $4.69 billion J in state court in St. Louis back ion in July this year. In that case, the courts has found that there was a link between the asbestos in talc products that were used by 22 women who had allegedly developed cancer because of the usage. The company was also awarded a penalty of $117 million to be paid to a plaintiff – an investment banker, by another jury in New Jersey, where the plaintiff had alleged that the his cancer was because of to the use of the baby powder.
Kim Montagnino, a company spokeswoman,., said that the findings by the latest jury “is consistent with decades of clinical evidence and scientific studies by medical experts” which confirm that there is no asbestos in the talcum powder of J&J.
Holly Froum , an analyst said that the win of J&J “is a signal plaintiffs will have a tough time proving causation” in the near future in relation to the other litigation related to mesothelioma and ovarian cancer cases that have been alleged to be linked to the baby powder.
There are however over 10,000 lawsuits against the company where the major allegation is that the executives of the company had been aware for the presence of asbestos in the baby powder for more than 40 years which had been hidden form consumers. The claims would be heard by a jury in New York in another trial in November.
During the latest case, the lawyers of J&J claimed that there was exposure to asbestos for Henry, a clerical worker, in her workplace and that the cause of her cancer was her repeated exposure to radiation during thyroid-cancer treatments. The arguments were dismissed by the lawyers of the plaintiff.
Henry, who is not 70 years old, had been diagnosed with cancer about two years ago, said her lawyers. As a consequence of the illness, Henry was forced to undergo several surgeries and still suffers from pain said her lawyers.
(Adapted form Bloomberg.com)