First Joint J&J, Colgate Talc Mesothelioma Trial: $12M Verdict

By Leah M. McMorris, Esq. and Leslie-Anne Taylor, Esq.

Published on June 13, 2019

A California state court jury awarded $12 million dollars in damages to a 72-year old woman dying of mesothelioma.  The jury found that it was more likely than not that Johnson & Johnson’s Shower to Shower and Colgate’s Cashmere Bouquet talc powders contained the carcinogen asbestos, and that the asbestos in those powders caused Schmitz’s cancer.   Johnson & Johnson and Colgate are responsible for almost $10 million of that award.  The jury voted in plaintiff Patricia Schmitz’s favor on her claims of negligence, design defect, failure to warn and concealment, but they were unable to reach a decision on whether punitive damages were warranted, or on her claim that J&J intentionally misrepresented its powders as “pure”. This is the 11th verdict against Johnson and Johnson in a baby powder claim.

Patricia Schmitz, a former fifth grade teacher, testified that she used Johnson & Johnson and Colgate body powders for most of her life. Specifically, she said that she used either J&J’s baby powder or Colgate-Palmolive’s Cashmere Bouquet after showering. She also testified that she purchased Avon’s Night Magic talc powder as a young woman.

The jury awarded a total of $12 million damages to Ms. Schmitz, and allocated 40% of the responsibility for her damages to Johnson & Johnson, and another 40% of the responsibility to Colgate. Avon was allocated 20% of the responsibility, but they were not a defendant at trial.

The case is captioned as Schmitz v. Johnson & Johnson, No. RG18923615, Superior Court of the State of California, Alameda County (Oakland). J&J and Colgate both announced plans to appeal the verdict. Schmidt’s trial counsel said that he would appeal the jury’s failure to award punitive damages.

Johnson & Johnson face an additional 14,000 talc-related cancer claims according to a May regulatory filing. In February, J&J received subpoenas from the Securities and Exchange Commission and the United States Department of Justice seeking documents on the safety of its talc powders.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer after using Johnson & Johnson or Colgate talc powders (including Shower to Shower Powder, baby powder, or Cashmere Bouquet), you may have a legal claim for damages. Call Thornton Law Firm’s female mesothelioma attorneys,  Leah McMorris or Leslie-Anne Taylor for a confidential, free  evaluation of your legal claim at 1-888-341-1405. Or tell us your story here to discuss your legal rights and how you should proceed. Do not delay seeking legal advice. Like all legal claims, talc powder lawsuits have short time limits within which they must be filed.

 

Another Johnson & Johnson Talc Cancer Verdict: $29 Million

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By Leah M. McMorris and Leslie-Anne Taylor

Posted on March 19, 2019

A California jury awarded $29 million to a woman dying from mesothelioma cancer in her lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson, attributing her development of the asbestos-linked cancer to her use of J&J baby powder.

Plaintiff Teresa Leavitt, the mother of two children, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2017. She is not expected to live beyond 2020, according to testimony of her doctors. The jury awarded her $2.49 million in past and future lost economic damages as well as $22 million for noneconomic damages past and future. Her husband was awarded $5 million for loss of consortium. No punitive damages were awarded.

Ms. Leavitt testified that baby powder was used on her when she was a child. As an adult, she continued to use J&J baby powder, as a “dry shampoo” or on her face as a foundation for her makeup.

Her lawyers introduced evidence that Johnson & Johnson learned of the presence of asbestos in talc mined in Vermont and Italy, but never alerted government regulators or consumers. No warning label about the presence or hazards of asbestos has ever been placed on Johnson & Johnson talc powders, including J&J Shower to Shower and baby powders.

The jury found J&J’s actions a substantial contributing factor in causing Leavitt’s mesothelioma. They also found that Johnson & Johnson failed to warn her of the cancer risk in using their products and intentionally withheld facts about the safety of their product. . The state court jury of seven men and five women included an attorney and a state court judge.

The plaintiffs were represented by trial attorneys Joseph Satterley and Denyse Clancy of Kazan, McClain, Satterley & Greenwood, Oakland, California, and Moshe Maimon of Levy Konigsberg LLP, New York, New York.

Johnson & Johnson has announced plans to appeal the verdict. It faces another 13,000 similar cases across the country.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or ovarian cancer after using Johnson & Johnson talc powder (including baby powder and Shower to Shower Powder), you may have a legal claim. Call Thornton Law Firm’s baby powder attorneys, female mesothelioma lawyers Marilyn McGoldrick, Leah McMorris and Leslie-Anne Taylor for a confidential, free evaluation of your legal rights at 1-888-341-1405. Or tell us your story here to discuss your legal claim and how you should proceed.

 

Johnson and Johnson Ordered to Pay $417 Million in Talc Ovarian Cancer Verdict

Call 888-341-1405 for a free consultation with a recognized leader in defective product litigation. You can also contact us online to discuss the details of your case.

By: Marilyn McGoldrick, Esq.

UPDATE: The trial judge granted Johnson & Johnson’s motion for a new trial in this case, overturning the verdict and ruling that there were errors and jury misconduct. Plaintiff Eva Echeverria died after the trial; her estate has appealed the ruling vacating the award.

 

Published on September 20, 2017

The first California trial of a plaintiff claiming her ovarian cancer was caused by Johnson & Johnson talc powder ended in a $417 million award for plaintiff Eva Echeverria.

Previous talc lawsuits had been tried in state court in St. Louis, Missouri. Last year the Supreme Court ruled that cases must be tried in the state where the injuries occurred. Since then, Johnson & Johnson has worked to get the St. Louis cases dismissed, claiming that St. Louis is an over-friendly plaintiff’s jurisdiction. This California jury award of $367 million in punitive damages was more than was awarded in all four St. Louis talc verdicts put together.

Echeverria, age 63, was too ill to attend the trial.  She was initially diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2007, when a softball sized tumor was removed by her surgeon. Her videotape deposition was played for the jury. She testified that she used Johnson & Johnson baby powder from age 11 until 2016 when she saw a story on the news about a woman with ovarian cancer who had used talcum powder.

As in previous trials, evidence was introduced to show that J&J has been aware for decades of studies linking use of talcum powder to cancer, and withheld that information from consumers. A 1982 study was introduced that showed a 92% increased risk for talc users of developing ovarian cancer. The study’s author, Daniel W. Cramer, later recommended that Johnson & Johnson put warning labels on talc powder products.

New evidence introduced at this trial included warning labels on bottles of talcum powder sold at Walmart and Dollar Tree, warning of the risk of ovarian cancer. Johnson & Johnson has never warned consumers of the risks of ovarian cancer from talc use. Echeverria also produced evidence that members of the Cosmetic Ingredient Review, an industry organization that has pronounced talc a safe ingredient, has received payments from Johnson and Johnson for speeches and other engagements.

Johnson & Johnson has appealed the verdict, claiming that passion and prejudice tainted the jury’s decision.

It is recommended that women who use talcum powder switch to cornstarch, arrowroot, or any other powder made without talc. If you or a loved one has developed ovarian cancer after using talc powder, call the talcum powder lawyers at Thornton Law Firm for a free and confidential consultation. Please  call Attorney Marilyn McGoldrick at 1-888-341-1405 or tell us your story online for a comprehensive evaluation of your legal rights. Seek legal advice as soon as possible. Legal claims have short time limits that are strictly enforced by the courts. Do not delay.

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