In the first civil talcum powder cancer lawsuit to go to trial since the COVID-19 pandemic struck in early 2020, a Los Angeles County jury ruled in favor of the plaintiff, a Vietnam veteran diagnosed with a rare but deadly type of cancer called pleural mesothelioma, ordering talc supplier Whittaker, Clark & Daniels to pay out $4.8 million in damages. According to the claim, 78-year-old Willie McNeal, Jr. developed pleural mesothelioma after being exposed to toxic asbestos particles in Old Spice talcum powder products for more than 20 years. If you know someone who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma allegedly caused by exposure to asbestos in talcum powder, Consumer Safety Watch can help. Call us today to learn more about the ongoing talcum powder cancer litigation in the United States.
McNeal states in his lawsuit that he used Old Spice talcum powder for more than two decades, with no knowledge that the talcum powder was contaminated with asbestos. According to the lawsuit, which was originally filed in 2018, the talc used in the Old Spice powder came from Whittaker, Clark & Daniels, formerly one of the largest talc suppliers in the U.S. McNeal alleged in his lawsuit that the company knew its talc contained asbestos yet failed to warn about the serious health risks asbestos exposure could pose for consumers. After considering arguments and evidence presented by both sides, the jury awarded McNeal $4.8 million in damages, a ruling that mirrors similar verdicts awarded in other lawsuits brought against talc manufacturers in recent years by consumers diagnosed with mesothelioma and ovarian cancer.
In another talcum powder trial in 2019, a California jury delivered a $12 million verdict in favor of a woman who developed mesothelioma allegedly caused by exposure to toxic asbestos particles in Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower body powder and Colgate Cashmere Bouquet products. In two separate talc-related trials in 2018 and 2017, California juries ordered consumer healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson to pay $25.7 million to a woman who was diagnosed with mesothelioma after years of using Johnson’s talc-based Baby Powder, and ordered Imerys Talc and Vanderbilt Minerals to pay $22.17 million in damages to the family of a man who died from mesothelioma allegedly caused by being exposed to asbestos-contaminated talc while working at paint and chemical companies.
Pleural mesothelioma is a devastating cancer that develops in the tissue lining the lungs. The only known cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral that can easily contaminate talc deposits mined for use in cosmetics and personal care products, such as talcum powder. Asbestos is a known carcinogen, meaning it can cause cancer in humans, and in addition to mesothelioma, exposure to talc powders tainted with asbestos has also been linked to ovarian cancer in women who routinely used the products for feminine hygiene purposes. Amid growing concerns about the potential for asbestos in talc to increase the risk of mesothelioma and ovarian cancer among consumers, Johnson & Johnson announced last year that it would no longer be selling its talc-based powder products in the U.S. or Canada.
Johnson & Johnson currently faces more than 20,000 lawsuits filed in the federal court system by consumers who were diagnosed with mesothelioma or ovarian cancer following years of exposure to the company’s talc-based powder products. The federal litigation has been consolidated in a multidistrict litigation (MDL) before U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson in New Jersey, where a series of early trials known as “bellwether” trials are expected to take place in the next year or so. If you or someone you love used Johnson’s Baby Powder or another talc-based powder product for years and was subsequently diagnosed with mesothelioma or ovarian cancer, do not hesitate to seek legal help from a knowledgeable product liability lawyer. With an experienced attorney on your side, you can hold the manufacturer accountable for the harm you have suffered and pursue financial compensation for your losses.