J&J and Kenvue ordered to pay $45 million in talcum powder lawsuit

By Alessandro Carrara | Published: 23-Apr-2024

J&J ended all global sales of its talc-based baby powder in 2022, marking the end of a 100 year era for its signature product

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and Kenvue have been ordered to pay $45m to the family of  a woman alleged to have died of cancer through the use of Johnson’s Baby Powder.

Theresa Garcia, an Illinois woman, was alleged to have died of cancer through the use of Johnson’s Baby Powder in July 2020 after being diagnosed six months prior.

A jury concluded that Garcia’s “lifelong use” of talc-based powders, which are claimed to contain asbestos, caused her to develop mesothelioma.

The jury, which met on 19 April, deemed Kenvue, the consumer health spinoff of J&J, 70% responsible for the death of Garcia.

It placed the remaining 30% of responsibility on J&J itself.

“The defendants knew that talc contains asbestos impurities that were mined and put in the bottles of baby powder J&J sold,” said attorney Jessica Dean of Dallas’ Dean Omar Branham Shirley law practice, who represents the Garcia’s family.

“Not only did the defendants’ negligence and deceit cheat loyal customers like Theresa, but their deception has ultimately robbed a family of their mother.”

This ruling marks the first instance of Kenvue being named in J&J’s ongoing scandal, with over 34,000 lawsuits being filed against the company on allegations its talc products caused cancer.

In 2023, a US judge gave J&J temporary respite from the tens of thousands of lawsuits.

This came after J&J’s second attempt to settle cases through its subsidiary LTL Management’s bankruptcy proceedings.

“Ms. Garcia’s case was delayed by several years when Johnson & Johnson filed two bad faith bankruptcies in an attempt to avoid the decades of liability it now faces,” said Ben Adams, another attorney representing the Garcia family.

“During the pendency of those bad faith bankruptcies, Johnson & Johnson engaged in a corporate shell game creating Kenvue.”

In August 2022, J&J decided to end all global sales of its talc-based baby powder, marking the end of a 100 year era for its signature product.

The personal care goliath has now transitioned to an all cornstarch-based baby powder portfolio instead, following an assessment of its worldwide product range.

J&J has continued to maintain its position that its talcum powder products are safe.

Cosmetics Business has contacted J&J for comment. 

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