Paralleling a similar verdict won in April of 2018, a California jury recently awarded clients of Kazan Law damages totaling $29.5 million. The landmark verdict represents compensatory damages that Kazan clients Teresa Leavitt and her husband, Dean McElroy, suffered as a result of the mesothelioma Mrs. Leavitt contracted from exposure to the asbestos in Johnson’s Baby Powder – arguably the baby powder gold-standard for many decades. The couple is represented by a legal team made up of attorneys from both Kazan, McClain, Satterley & Greenwood, PC, and Levy Konigsberg, LLP.
The Defendants, Responsibility, and Damages
Those defendants ordered to pay the $29.5 million verdict include three entities:
- Johnson & Johnson (J&J)
- Johnson & Johnson Consumer, Inc.
- Cyprus Mines Corporation (Cyprus) – a talc supplier
The jury determined after extensive deliberation, that J&J bore 98 percent of the responsibility for Mrs. Leavitt’s injuries and that Cyprus bore the remaining 2 percent of responsibility. The verdict includes $22 million for Mrs. Leavitt’s past and future pain and suffering caused by the mesothelioma, $5 million for her husband’s spousal damages, which are also known as loss of consortium and loss of services and society, and $2.5 million for economic damages, including medical expenses and lost earnings.
The jury’s findings on several important elements ultimately led to the final verdict in favor of the couple:
- Mrs. Leavitt’s use of Johnson’s Baby Powder was a substantial cause of her mesothelioma.
- J&J and Cyprus failed to provide adequate warning regarding the dangers of asbestos, such as that found in their talc.
- J&J intentionally withheld information regarding the risks associated with the talc found in their famous baby powder.
Evidence in support of this verdict included multiple internal documents issued by both J&J and Cyprus that prove both defendants knew – as early as the 1960s – that the talc used to manufacture Johnson’s baby powder and Johnson and Johnson’s Shower to Shower products contained asbestos. In response to their initial discovery of this dangerous fact, J&J – and some other manufacturers of talcum powder – opted out of replacing the tainted talc with an alternative substance like cornstarch and, instead, implemented a testing mechanism that couldn’t detect the asbestos and, thus, attempted to absolve themselves of potential fault. The jury saw through this attempt.
The evidence presented mirrored evidence from the April 2018 case. It was, however, the first J&J talc-related trial to be completed following reporting from the New York Times and Reuters that established J&J’s long-term awareness of the asbestos issue and its decision to keep the information from both the public and government regulators.
The plaintiffs, Teresa Leavitt and Dean McElroy, are represented by a legal team that includes Joseph Satterley and Denyse Clancy of Kazan, McClain, Satterley & Greenwood, PC, of Oakland, California, and Moshe Maimon of Levy Konigsberg, LLP, based in New York and New Jersey.
Call Kazan Law Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with a Talcum Powder Lawyer
To schedule a free case evaluation with an attorney, call Kazan Law today at 888-990-7008 or contact us online.