Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder has been named as a defendant in over 16,000 lawsuits accusing the company’s product of asbestos contamination. In some cases the plaintiffs are seeking damages over a malignant mesothelioma diagnosis while in others they’ve been impacted by ovarian cancer, but in nearly all of the legal battles the company has vigorously defended itself against charges of negligence and responsibility. But this week there was an exception: the company reportedly agreed to a settlement with 62-year-old Laura Shanahan, who had filed a personal injury case alleging that asbestos in the product had caused her malignant mesothelioma.
No Details Provided in Mesothelioma Settlement
It is highly unusual for Johnson & Johnson to agree to a settlement in a mesothelioma lawsuit, and it is not clear what the impetus was for their agreeing to settle this one. The company has already dedicated more than a year to legal wrangling in the case, trying and failing to have the claim moved from New York state court to federal court in February of 2019.
Johnson & Johnson has lost several of the asbestos lawsuits filed against it and has won others: still other plaintiff awards have been overturned on appeal. It is not clear why the company chose to settle this case, but they did so just after jury instructions and prior to opening statements.
Dramatic Moment in the Mesothelioma Lawsuit Courtroom
According to those who were present in the Manhattan courtroom, immediately after New York Supreme Court Justice Barbara Jaffe provided instructions to the jury, attorneys for the plaintiffs and the defense asked to meet with her in chambers. Shortly thereafter she came out of her chambers and informed the jury that their services were no longer needed and that the case had been settled.
Though there were no details offered about what had led to the settlement, a witness noted that Ms. Shanahan was crying tears of relief, and her attorney expressed gratitude to the jury, saying that the selection process had aided in reaching a resolution in the case.
Though mesothelioma is traditionally associated with older men who were exposed to asbestos on the job, an increasing number of women are being diagnosed after years of using talc-based baby powder suspected of asbestos contamination. For more information, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608.