The second jury charged with deciding whether Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products were tainted with asbestos and caused a woman’s rare cancer, ended in a deadlock. The news rang eerily similar to the first trial in the case of the late Bertila Boyd-Bostic. It ended in May with a hung jury as well.
Boyd-Bostic and her surviving husband and former law partner, Antoine Bostic, brought the case against Johnson & Johnson shortly after Boyd-Bostic was diagnosed with mesothelioma in the spring of 2017. She died October 2017.
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer is caused by asbestos exposure. The most common form of mesothelioma, called pleural mesothelioma, develops in the lining of the lungs. Peritoneal mesothelioma develops in the lining of the abdomen. Boyd-Bostic was diagnosed with pericardial mesothelioma, an extremely rare form of the disease that develops in the lining surrounding the heart.
It can take up to 50 years for mesothelioma to develop. Once diagnosed, the disease generally proves deadly within a year or two.
Last week, Bostic’s attorneys told the South Carolina jury that Johnson & Johnson should award Boyd-Bostic’s estate $53.9 million for wrongful death and $8.75 million to her widower Bostic for loss-of-consortium.
But shortly after entering into deliberations, the jury sent a note to the court saying they were unable to come to a unanimous verdict. Despite Darlington County Circuit Court Judge Jean Toal’s instructions to continue deliberating the issue, the jury sent the judge another note, which read, “The jury is not going to agree, eleven/one, there is no amount of time that is going to change this.”
Despite further deliberation, the jury still was unable to agree on a verdict, and Judge Toal reluctantly declared a mistrial in this latest talc mesothelioma case.