California Jury Delivers $25.75 Million Verdict in Asbestos Case Tying Johnson’s Baby Powder to Mesothelioma
Simon Greenstone Panatier represents 68-year-old woman with deadly cancer
WEST COVINA, California – A jury in California delivered a $25.75 million verdict against the maker of Johnson’s Baby Powder for the deadly asbestos-caused cancer a woman developed after years of using the product.
In addition, jurors asked the court whether it could require Johnson’s Baby Powder to carry a warning in the future.
The verdict by jurors in Los Angeles Superior Court before Judge Gloria White-Brown includes $21.75 million in compensatory damages and $4 million in punitive damages. Jurors found that Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) was negligent and failed to warn consumers, and that its iconic Johnson’s Baby Powder contained manufacturing and design defects because of the presence of asbestos.
Joanne Anderson, 68, of Williams, Oregon, filed suit following her diagnosis with pleural mesothelioma. A cancer in the lining of the lungs, pleural mesothelioma is caused by asbestos exposure. She used Johnson’s Baby Powder on her children when they were younger and, as an avid bowler, regularly used the product on her hands and shoes for years. All told, experts estimate she used the product more than 10,000 times.
“It was our great honor to represent Joanne and Gary Anderson in this battle against Johnson & Johnson,” said trial attorney David Greenstone of Simon Greenstone Panatier, who was one of the attorneys who tried the case. “We are extremely pleased that our clients have found a measure of justice, although nothing can truly compensate them for what they have lost. Our clients are hopeful that this verdict can further bring light to this unbelievable example of corporate misconduct. Johnson’s Baby Powder has contained asbestos for decades. People need to know about this.”
The jury found Johnson & Johnson liable for two-thirds of the verdict amount. The remaining percentage of fault was spread among other exposures that Joanne had as a bystander to automotive work her husband occasionally performed. Medical testimony in the case indicated that all of her exposures to asbestos contributed to cause her mesothelioma.
“In 1969, a Johnson & Johnson’s company doctor told them that if they didn’t get control of the mineral contaminants in their baby powder that they would end up in litigation years later,” said trial attorney Chris Panatier, who also represented the family at trial. “Instead of pulling the powder from the market or going with a safer alternative such as corn starch, they engaged in a multi-decade campaign wherein they hid testing data from the FDA, altered reports to make them more favorable and lied to consumers. This jury saw Johnson & Johnson documents that were never given to the public or the FDA.”
Also assisting in the case was Simon Greenstone Panatier attorney Conor Nideffer.
The verdict is the third cosmetic talc case tied to asbestos that Simon Greenstone Panatier has won on behalf of its clients. In 2015, a California jury awarded mesothelioma sufferer Judith Winkel $13 million in her case against Colgate-Palmolive, based on her exposure to asbestos in its Cashmere Bouquet powder. The following year, a jury awarded $18 million to Philip Depoian in a mesothelioma case against talc supplier Whittaker Clark & Daniels.
Mrs. Anderson’s case is Joanne Anderson and Gary Anderson v. Borg-Warner Corporation et al., No. BC 666513 in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Simon Greenstone Panatier, P.C. is a nationally recognized trial law firm with a reputation for creative and aggressive representation of clients in a wide variety of catastrophic personal injury matters.