Attorneys for a woman who claims that Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products are contaminated with asbestos and contributed to her mesothelioma diagnosis said in closing arguments that the consumer health care giant and its talc supplier should pay the woman $29.2 million plus punitive damages because they sold talc products to consumers knowing they were tainted with cancer-causing asbestos.
The Pasadena, California trial involving the case of Carolyn Weirick and her wife Elvira Escudero also names Imerys Talc America, Johnson & Johnson’s talc supplier. Defense attorneys argue that the companies are not to blame because the women’s case is based on “data conjured” up by paid experts rather than actual science, Law360 reported.
Weirick’s case brought evidence such as studies on an actual bottle of Johnson’s Baby Powder purchased and used by Weirick, in which asbestos fibers were found, as well as tests from the Italian mines where Johnson & Johnson’s talc originated that showed asbestos was present in the talc mined there.
Weirick trusted J&J’s talcum powder products were safe. Her mother used Johnson’s baby powder on her when she was a baby. For the next 45 years, Weirick said she used four bottles of Johnson’s baby powder or Shower to Shower body powder each year.
Weirick was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a rare but deadly form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure that develops in the lining of the lungs and other internal organs. The disease can take years to develop. Once diagnosed, the disease proves deadly in about 12 to 24 months.
Weirick’s attorney told jurors that fair compensation would be $1.2 million in economic damages, plus $25 million for past and future pain and suffering, as the disease will take about a quarter century of her life expentancy. He also said Weirick’s wife is entitled to $3 million for loss of companionship.