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.