Ilene Brick lived a full life, but at the age of 94 she received a horrific diagnosis: mesothelioma, a rare but deadly form of cancer that affects the lining of internal organs, like the lungs. The disease is caused by exposure to asbestos, a mineral made up of microscopic fibers found in many building and industrial materials. It can take 10 to 50 years for the disease to develop. Once diagnosed, mesothelioma typically kills within 12 to 24 months.
Ilene was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, the most common type of mesothelioma, which affects the lining of the lungs.
How could Ilene have developed mesothelioma? She believed it was her five decades of almost daily use of Johnson’s Baby Powder. She sued Johnson & Johnson alleging the company was aware that its talcum powder contained asbestos but failed to warn consumers.
It wasn’t an unrealistic claim. In May, a woman was awarded $26 million after she claimed she developed mesothelioma after using Johnson’s Baby Powder regularly. That verdict followed a $117 million verdict to another person who alleged Johnson& Johnson’s talc-containing products contained asbestos and contributed to mesothelioma.
Similar lawsuits have alleged that regular use of Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower on the genitals for feminine hygiene contributed to ovarian cancer.
Unfortunately, Ilene’s trial never reached a verdict. She died days into the trial, leading Johnson & Johnson’s attorneys to seek a mistrial. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Stephen Moloney told the jury that because Ilene had passed away, certain damages in the case were no longer allowable, but other damages may be available to other parties. Thus, the law required Judge Moloney to declare a mistrial.