It took the state Superior Court jury in Alameda County, California less than one week of deliberations to conclude that asbestos in Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder had caused 35-year-old Christina Prudencio’s malignant mesothelioma. They awarded the young woman $26.5 million in compensatory damages and will now move on to consider whether punitive damages should be assessed against the company.
Mesothelioma Came After Years of Baby Powder Use
The compelling evidence presented to the jury painted a picture of a young woman whose mother had used Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder on her since the time of her birth, and linked asbestos-contaminated talc in the iconic product to her eventual diagnosis with malignant mesothelioma, a rare and fatal form of cancer.
In addition to the scientific information regarding how asbestos contamination of talc occurs and how mesothelioma forms in the body, the jury heard damning testimony about Johnson & Johnson ignoring warnings about the dangers posed to consumers by its products. They heard about a 1971 meeting between company officials and a researcher who had discovered chrysotile asbestos in the talc they were using, and of another incident in 1976 when the company convinced executives at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York to retract some of its statements on findings researchers there had made about asbestos in talc.
Johnson & Johnson Blames Mesothelioma on Woman’s Genes
The jury awarded the mesothelioma victim $15 million for future noneconomic damages including pain and suffering, $5 million for past noneconomic damages, $4.1 million for lost past and future income, $1.57 million for lost household services, and a previously agreed-to $800,000 for past medical costs. The sizeable award may in part have been due to descriptions of the painful nature of Ms. Prudencio’s illness and partly a rejection of the company’s attorney arguing that her mesothelioma was the result of a genetic mutation. The punitive damages portion of the trial will begin next week.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, you need experienced and powerful advocates working on your behalf. Call 1-800-692-8608 to learn how the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net can help.