Asbestos watchdogs and mesothelioma advocates have been watching closely as jurors and courts across America address claims accusing Johnson & Johnson of knowingly exposing consumers to asbestos in their talc powder products. Now things are escalating, as it was revealed that the civil litigation is not only coinciding with a federal regulatory investigation, but also a criminal investigation being conducted by the U.S. Justice Department.
Grand jury investigating asbestos in Johnson & Johnson products
The probe has apparently been spurred by the thousands of civil claims filed against the company by people diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma and ovarian cancer. Subpoenas were issued back in February, but nobody knew whether they were investigating civil or criminal matters. Now a grand jury has been assembled to determine whether the company was aware that their product contained the carcinogenic material asbestos, and whether they hid its presence from the public.
The criminal inquiry into Johnson & Johnson is apparently looking at information that was revealed in recent mesothelioma lawsuits, and particularly at internal memos from the 1960s and 1970s that showed that company scientists had warned about the legal risk posed by the presence of the toxic material. Company officials have denied the presence of asbestos, and the veracity of those statements is now being scrutinized.
Billions of dollars in verdicts
There have been several lawsuits filed against the company, claiming that they knew that both their iconic baby powder product and their Shower-to-Shower body powder product contained asbestos, and failed to warn the public of the risks posed. Lawsuits filed against the company have also included close analysis of samples of the company’s products, and many of these have revealed the presence of asbestos. Billions of dollars in jury verdicts have been delivered, and the company has settled with at least one plaintiff, though they continue to deny that their products have ever contained the deadly material.
Mesothelioma and other cancers caused by exposure to asbestos are physically and emotionally challenging, and the stress of these diseases is made even greater by the fact that they could have been prevented had companies acted responsibly. If you or someone you love has been affected by an asbestos-related disease and you need information about resources, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608 to learn more.