By Margaret Cronin Fisk, Sarah Favot and Jef Feeley
Johnson & Johnson won the latest trial over claims its iconic baby powder can cause cancer, as a jury in Long Beach, California, rejected a lawsuit brought by a 65-year-old retired teacher who claimed the product was contaminated with asbestos.
The J&J victory Friday comes the week after the company settled three cases alleging baby powder caused a rare asbestos-connected cancer. Two, in Oklahoma and California, were settled during trial. The other, in New York, was settled less than two weeks before trial was set to begin.
Plaintiff Robert Blinkinsop was diagnosed in July 2017 with mesothelioma, a rare cancer of the lining of the lung generally caused by asbestos exposure. Blinkinsop used Johnsons baby powder daily for personal hygiene from 1977 to 1994 and on his children from 1992 to 1996, his attorney, Mark Bratt, said at trial. He also used the companys Shower to Shower talc product.
J&J is facing more than 13,000 lawsuits linking baby powder and another talc product, Shower to Shower, to ovarian cancer or mesothelioma. More than two dozen trials have been scheduled in U.S. courts in 2019.
“Todays jury unanimously ruled that Johnsons Baby Powder does not contain asbestos and was not the cause of the plaintiffs disease, Kim Montagnino, company spokeswoman, said in an emailed statement. “This conclusion is aligned to the decades of clinical evidence and scientific studies by medical experts around the world that support the safety of Johnsons Baby Powder.
Blinkinsops attorney said he was shocked and disappointed by the verdict.
“Given the hundreds of positive historical tests from J&J showing asbestos in its talc containing baby powder, as well as J&Js ongoing decision to use deceptive testing techniques that allow for false negative results — we have no doubt asbestos was, and currently still is in J&Js talc baby powder products,” Bratt said in a statement. “Asbestos in baby powder is a huge public health concern that is far bigger than just this case.”
The companys record at trial has been mixed so far. The company lost a $29 million jury award in a California mesothelioma case March 13 and won a defense verdict in a New Jersey trial March 27, the same day it settled the three cases.
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Several of the first trials resulted in plaintiffs verdicts, including one for $4.69 billion in St. Louis in 2018 to 22 women with ovarian cancer. But J&J has been able to win reversals of three of the first five jury awards.The company has also won other defense verdicts in cases alleging links between baby powder and mesothelioma beyond the New Jersey trial.
Some of the verdicts include awards against J&Js talc supplier, Imerys America, which filed for bankruptcy protection in February.
Lawyers for Blinkinsop and his wRead More – Source