Johnson & Johnson settled two separate lawsuits last week by women who sued the company over claims that asbestos in its talc products caused them to develop mesothelioma, a rare but deadly form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure, Law360 reported.
The first case was settled three hours into jury deliberations. It involved the case of Sharon Pipes, who alleged that asbestos in Johnson’s Baby Powder caused her peritoneal mesothelioma, a type of mesothelioma that develops in the lining of the abdomen. The terms of the settlement were not announced but attorneys said the consumer health care giant paid what they asked for.
The second case that was settled involved claims by 36-year-old Gail Koretoff that Johnson & Johnson’s asbestos-tainted talcum powder caused her to develop pleural mesothelioma, which develops in the lining of the lungs. Details of that settlement were not disclosed.
Johnson & Johnson released a statement saying its decision to settle the lawsuits shouldn’t suggest the company is looking at a larger settlement with plaintiffs, but rather the company is addressing cases in “one-off situations.” In these two incidents, settlements were warranted, the company said.
The settlements came two weeks after Johnson & Johnson was hit by a $29.5 million verdict in a similar case in California, and the same day J&J scored a victory from a New Jersey jury. The company faces more than 12,000 lawsuits alleging its talcum powder contains asbestos or other impurities that contributed to cancer diagnoses. The majority of cases involve ovarian cancer diagnoses by women who say they developed the disease from years of using Johnson’s Baby Powder or Shower to Shower body powder on their genitals for feminine hygiene.
Asbestos is a known carcinogen that is mined in similar proximity and fashion as talc. Asbestos-related cancers can take up to 50 years to develop.