After hearing four weeks worth of evidence in a California woman’s lawsuit against pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson, a jury will be deciding whether asbestos in the company’s baby powder product caused her malignant mesothelioma. During closing arguments on Thursday, Carolyn Weirick’s attorney argued that the company owed her $29 million in compensation plus additional punitive damages for failing to warn consumers that the talc used in their product was contaminated with the carcinogenic mineral. The case is the sixth baby powder mesothelioma claim to be heard in U.S. courts.
Despite evidence including a scientific analysis revealing asbestos in Weirick’s container of baby powder, Johnson & Johnson continued to argue that they were not responsible for her malignant mesothelioma. This past Wednesday their defense introduced an expert witness who argued that her illness was simply a matter of bad luck rather than exposure to asbestos in their product. Dr. David Weill argued that her mesothelioma could have been spontaneous. His testimony included the statement, “There are people who don’t smoke who develop lung cancer. With any tumor you can think of there are people who just had bad luck. You don’t have to be exposed to anything to develop cancer.” In response, Mrs. Weirick’s attorney made clear that Weill has a long and lucrative record of testifying on behalf of a long list of big corporations including Halliburton, Toyota, Honeywell and others, always insisting that their products are not at fault for injury. Weill has been arguing against mesothelioma victims since 2002 and has made over a million dollars a year testifying that their terminal illness was spontaneous.
The jury heard extensive evidence showing that in order to avoid being held responsible for consumers’ mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases, Johnson & Johnson purposely avoided having their product tested for the presence of asbestos, fearing that if they did so they would suffer financial losses. Other testimony showed that they were aware of warnings about asbestos in their product and that they chose to disregard it.
Previous cases accusing Johnson & Johnson of responsibility for consumer’s mesothelioma have ended in multi-million dollar awards for the victims, and there are many similar lawsuits pending against the company. If you have been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, whether from asbestos in Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder or from any other source, we are here to help. Contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608 to learn more.