Johnson & Johnson was ordered by a Miami jury to pay a Florida woman $9 million after finding that the company’s iconic baby powder was contaminated with asbestos and caused a woman to develop mesothelioma, Law360 reported.
The jury awarded Blanca Moure-Cabrera $3 million for past medical expenses and an additional $6 million for past and future pain and suffering. It is considered the first verdict in Florida linking talcum powder to mesothelioma, a rare but deadly form of cancer linked to asbestos exposure.
The jury supported Moure-Cabrera’s claim that Johnson & Johnson knew for decades that the talc it used in its products could become contaminated with cancer-causing asbestos, and that the company was negligent by selling a defective product.
In a statement, Johnson & Johnson said it would appeal the verdict and held firm to its stance that its talcum powder products are safe and free of asbestos.
The verdict comes just days after the consumer health care giant agreed to a confidential settlement with a California woman just as her trial was set to begin. Last month, a New Jersey jury hit J&J with a whopping $750 million in punitive damages in a case alleging the talc caused the plaintiff’s mesothelioma. That verdict was quickly reduced to $186 million to align with state caps on punitive damages. A separate jury had awarded those plaintiffs $37.3 million in compensatory damages.
Johnson and Johnson faces thousands of lawsuits alleging that exposure to its talcum powder products caused people to develop mesothelioma or ovarian cancer. In many cases, asbestos contamination is listed as a culprit. On Oct. 18, J&J recalled bottles of its Johnson’s Baby Powder after testing by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revealed that it was contaminated with trace amounts of asbestos.
Beasley Allen lawyers Ted Meadows and Leigh O’Dell are heading up the team handling claims of ovarian cancer linked to talcum powder use for feminine hygiene. They are looking at cases of industrial, occupational and secondary asbestos exposure resulting in lung cancer or mesothelioma as well as claims of asbestos-related talc products linked to mesothelioma.