Los Angeles Jury Deliberating in $24M Talcum Product Trial Los Angeles County Superior Court, November 13, 2017
CALIFORNIA — Closing arguments were conducted on Monday, November 13, 2017 in a trial against Johnson & Johnson and its supplier, Imerys Talc America Inc., alleging that asbestos in talcum powder caused the plaintiff’s mesothelioma. The plaintiff’s counsel argued that Johnson & Johnson and Imerys pushed to delay regulation of talc for years, and that the companies advocated for methods of testing their products for asbestos that could not detect the levels actually present. The plaintiff suffers from mesothelioma, and her life is predicted to be cut short by 23 years. The plaintiff’s counsel asked the jury to award $1M in non-economic damages for each of those years, in addition to approximately $1M in lost wages and medical bills. Punitive damages were also alleged.
Johnson & Johnson countered by arguing that documents produced at the beginning of the litigation indicate the plaintiff stated she only used the product for six to eight years as a child, not the 35 years of daily use she claimed at trial. Similarly, the plaintiff previously stated that she washed her father’s and husband’s asbestos-laden clothing, but she denied doing so at trial. Additionally, the plaintiff had no hallmark signs of asbestos exposure in her lungs, and Johnson & Johnson argued that her disease was instead caused by radiation treatment received in the late 1990s to treat breast cancer. Imerys also put forth the defense that it only supplied talc for the product at issue for one month of the plaintiff’s alleged use.
Asbestos Case Tracker will report once a verdict is rendered.