The case is the first to be heard in California against J&J. It is brought by California resident Eva Echeverria who alleges the company failed to provide adequate warning about the risk for cancer linked to the use of its talc-based products.
The Los Angeles Superior Court jury found in favor of Echeverria, awarding $70 million in compensatory damages and $347 million in punitive damages. This is the sixth trial against J&J to go to court, following five previously heard in Missouri state court which resulted in more than $307 million in damages against J&J. Prior to the Echeverria verdict, the largest single award was $110 million.
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Talcum powders are made of talc, a mineral comprised of bits of magnesium, silicon and oxygen that absorbs moisture. Some talc contains asbestos, a known carcinogen, in its natural form. While J& J is likely using in court information that commercial products sold in the US have been asbestos-free since the 1970s, some women used talc before the 1970s. Echeverria is 63 years old, and claims she used J&J products all her life. Feasibly, she used talc containing asbestos for more than a decade.
In a statement, lawyers for J&J said they will appeal the verdict.
The case is Echeverria et al v. Johnson & Johnson, Los Angeles Superior Court, No. BC628228.