Jury Awards $29.4 Million in Talcum-Cancer Trial

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Leavitt's was the first talc case to go to trial since Reuters published a report in December detailing that J&J knew that the talc in its raw and finished powders sometimes tested positive for small amounts of asbestos from the 1970s into the early 2000s - test results it did not disclose to regulators or consumers.

The world's largest health care company, facing more than 13,000 talcum-related lawsuits nationwide, said it would appeal the verdict.

The nine-week trial that began on January 7 involved a jury that deliberated for two days before delivering the verdict in California Superior Court in Oakland, the report said. J&J has pledged to appeal cases it has lost and has convinced courts to overturn several jury verdicts so far.

A woman who said her mesothelioma was caused by her regular use of Johnson & Johnson's talcum powder was awarded $24.4 million by a California jury, which also awarded $5 million to her spouse.

Her suit is one of many that link cancers to asbestos in Johnson & Johnson's talc-based products and contend that the company concealed the health risk for decades.

"Yet another jury has rejected J&J's misleading claims that its talc was free of asbestos", said Moshe Maimon, a lawyer for Leavitt, in a statement on Wednesday. "The jury verdicts are not medical, scientific or regulatory conclusions about a product", it said.

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"Hundreds of internal J&J documents showed the truth that it has been hiding for years".

The conglomerate said it would appeal the order and cited "serious procedural and evidentiary errors" in the trial's proceedings. A company executive in the 1970s warned that J&J's talc mines might not be free of asbestos.

Despite the verdicts, Johnson & Johnson maintains that its baby powder formula does not contain asbestos, and set up a website called "Facts about Talc" to try and dissuade the public from continuing to think one of its most popular products contains the harmful mineral.

A court in the U.S. state of California ordered Johnson & Johnson to compensate a woman to the tune of $29 million for cancer complications she developed from using the company's talcum powder, according to media reports. It includes a section linking to multiple studies conducted over decades that showed no increased risk for ovarian cancer in women who used baby powder.

However, the Reuters report said that most testing found that there was no presence of asbestos in the company's products.