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16 March 2019, 08:45 | Hattie Nash
Johnson & Johnson had refuted allegations that the product causes cancer. | Reuters file
A jury in California has ruled that Johnson & Johnson must pay $29 million to a woman who claimed its baby powder gave her terminal cancer.
The petitioner, Terry Leavitt, said she used Johnson's Baby Powder and Shower to Shower during the 1960s and 1970s before being diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2017. A whopping 13,000 similar lawsuits have been filed across the country against the massive health care company. It has more than two dozen trials scheduled around the U.S. this year.
The nine-week trial began on January 7 and included testimony from almost a dozen experts on both sides.
"We will pursue an appeal because Johnson's Baby Powder does not contain asbestos or cause cancer".
"This track record shows that there are one set of facts in these cases, and that decades of tests by independent, non-litigation driven experts and institutions repeatedly confirm that Johnson's Baby Powder does not contain asbestos or cause cancer", Montagnino said.
The jury deliberated for two days before delivering its verdict. The jury decided against awarding punitive damages, which are created to punish the defendants - in this case Johnson & Johnson and the other companies involved in making the talcum powder - for reckless or negligent behavior.
Past year 22 women were awarded $4.7 billion after they sued J&J, alleging they developed ovarian cancer because of the company's products.
A United States jury found the company's talcum powder-based products were defective and it had failed to warn consumers of subsequent health risks.
Leavitt's case has been the first to go on trial after Reutersreported that J&J concealed information that its powder had tested positive for tiny amounts of asbestos for three decades since the 1970s.
It is one of the most mysterious cancers, and it's not clear why asbestos travels to ovarian tissues, but it is well-documented. It said the woman's lawyers failed to show that the baby powder contained asbestos.
The company said in a statement, shared with PEOPLE, that they plan to appeal the ruling.
Ms Leavitt's trial originally included J&J's talc supplier, Imerys Talc America, a unit of Imerys SE, as a co-defendant.
The company has insisted that its talc-based products are demonstrably safe but it has lost a string of court cases.
"It's not clear to us the read-through this case has to the other trials or that these decisions will be upheld on appeal (where the technical merits will likely find a more receptive audience than a jury)", the analysts wrote.
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