A New Jersey investment banker supposedly won a US$40 million case against Johnson & Johnson (J&J). Forty-six year-old Stephen Lanzo of Verona, New Jersey won the case against J&J when the judge ruled that Stephen contracted mesothelioma after inhaling the company’s talcum powder products for more than 30 years.

Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer that develops in the lining of the heart, lungs, or abdomen. It is usually caused by the inhalation of asbestos, a banned mineral normally located in mining deposits and was formerly used in construction projects. Talcum powder is found to be basically contaminated with asbestos fibers.

Lanzo asserted that J&J knew about the asbestos contamination of talcum powder since the 1960s but had not done anything about it nor recalled its baby powder products from the market.

When a Much Loved Product Does Wrong

Through a lawyer, both Lanzo and his wife Kendra claimed that J&J had kept the dangers of asbestos being present in talcum powder from the buying public for so long. The jury ruled in favor of the couple, awarding US$30 million to Lanzo, and another US$7 million to his wife for a “loss of consortium” claim in which spouses are compensated for any harm caused by a negligent injury.

On top of the US$37 million, the jury might award other punitive damages to J&J for punishment for negligent and unethical activities. The court is supposed to charge 70% of the damages to J&J, while the other 30% will be charged to Imerys Talc, the company’s supplier of the mineral.

Thousands filed Lawsuits Against J&J

Lawsuits linking talcum powder to cancer have apparently been filed against J&J for years. In fact, the company is currently facing 6,610 talc-related lawsuits at this time.

Majority of the cases assert that the company failed to warn women about the risk of developing ovarian cancer by using the talc for feminine hygiene. The past two years have been quite damaging for J&J as seven lawsuits found the big manufacturing firm liable for the cases that were filed against it.

One case was won by an Alabama woman who claimed the product gave her ovarian cancer and was paid US$72 million in damages. Another case of a California woman was awarded US$417 million, but a judge over-ruled the case in favor of J&J.

And in Missouri, five cases were filed against J&J with the court finding the companies liable for their crimes four times. The plaintiffs were awarded a total of US$ 307 million.

An important piece of evidence for the prosecution was an internal memo from 1969 in which a scientist specifically mentioned asbestos contamination in the company’s talc.  A possible link between asbestos and ovarian cancer was established from a 1971 study that found talc particles in ovarian tumors.

“While we are disappointed with this decision, the jury has further deliberations to conduct in this trial and we will reserve additional comment until the case is fully completed,” said Carol Goodrich, a spokeswoman for Johnson & Johnson.

If you would like to know more about the dangers of ovarian cancer, do pay us a visit at the Dr. Farrah Agustin-Bunch Natural medical Center, or visit us at Victoria, Tarlac.