On Wednesday, March 13, the Oakland jury found Johnson & Johnson's talcum powder was tainted with carcinogenic asbestos fibers and was a substantial reason for a woman's mesothelioma. The 12-member jury awarded $29.5 million to the dying California woman.
After two days of deliberation, the Oakland jury ruled in favor of Plaintiff Teresa E. Leavitt as they found J&J 78% liable, J&J Consumer Inc. 20% liable, and onetime talc supplier Cyprus Mines Corp. 2% liable for Leavitt’s cancer. The jurors found that J&J failed to provide adequate warnings regarding asbestos exposure risks. One juror told the company purposely withheld the asbestos facts. According to a unanimous jury opinion, Leavitt would have used some other product had she been warned about the talcum powder hazards. The woman was awarded $291,000 for past medical expenses, $1 million for future medical expenses, $1.2 million for lost earnings, and $22 million for past and future physical pain and mental suffering. Her partner was awarded $5 million for past and future loss of love and companionship.
Hon. Freda L. Wolfson, U.S.D.J./ Hon. Lois H. Goodman, U.S.M.J. overlooks J&J's talcum powder multidistrict litigation (MDL No. 2738; In Re: Johnson & Johnson Talcum Powder Products Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation) in the District of New Jersey.