For the past year, the news has been full of information regarding the links between Johnson & Johnson’s iconic Baby Powder and cancer. Currently, the company is facing more than 17,000 lawsuits where the plaintiffs claim that the use of the product caused them to develop cancer. Reports also indicate that the talc-based product may be contaminated with asbestos, a mineral that is specifically linked to cancer. Johnson & Johnson denies these claims, but the lawsuits continue. Most recently, an FDA test indicated the presence of asbestos in one lot of baby powder. Subsequent testing done by Johnson & Johnson led to reports from the company that their product was asbestos-free.
Bloomberg reports that Johnson & Johnson has settled a case involving talc and cancer during the middle of a jury trial.
After hearing more than two weeks of testimony, jurors in Oakland, California were told by the judge that the case had settled.
Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay more than $2 million to resolve the claimant’s case. Linda O’Hagan alleged that the use of Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder led to her cancer. The details of the settlement were not made public.
While it is unusual for the company to resolve a case during a trial, it has settled some cases prior to proceeding to trial. However, it is important to note that the company has not established an organized settlement program. It still intends to argue many of the cases at trial.
In August 2018, O’Hagan was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a cancer almost exclusively linked to asbestos exposure. Her lawyers indicated in arguments that she had undergone treatment, but probably had less than two years to live.
Another defendant in the case also agreed to settle mid-trial. That defendant was Rio Tinto Minerals, the company that mined the talc used in Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder.
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