J&J attorneys asserted in court that there's no conclusive evidence talc caused Leavitt's mesothelioma.
J&J says its products do not contain asbestos, and said it will appeal Wednesday's jury decision. It's the first defeat since a Missouri jury ordered the company past year to pay $4.69 billion to 22 women who blamed their cancer on the product.
The verdict, in California Superior Court in Oakland, marks the latest defeat for the healthcare conglomerate, which faces more than 13,000 talc-related lawsuits nationwide.
Johnson & Johnson had refuted allegations that the product causes cancer and cited several studies and tests that to prove that its talc is safe. We respect the legal process and reiterate that jury verdicts are not medical, scientific or regulatory conclusions about a product.
"This track record shows that there are one set of facts in these cases, and that decades of tests by independent, non-litigation driven experts and institutions repeatedly confirm that Johnson's Baby Powder does not contain asbestos or cause cancer", the company said.
Asbestos is a term for a group of minerals often found near talc, which is widely used in cosmetics.
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"Hundreds of internal J&J documents showed the truth that it has been hiding for years". He said the specific type of asbestos wasn't industrial grade, which would have indicated she was exposed to it on the job.
Leavitt's was the first talc case to go to trial since Reuters on December 14 published a report 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.
Leavitt's trial originally included Johnson & Johnson talc supplier, Imerys Talc America, a unit of Imerys SE, as a co-defendant.
In response to the lawsuit, Johnson & Johnson released a statement about the verdict, saying the company plans to appeal. Johnson & Johnson also won three cases, while five led to hung juries.
There were serious procedural and evidentiary errors in the proceeding that required us to move for mistrial on eight different points during the proceeding.
Almost 14,000 cases involving people who believe that J&J's talc powder caused their cancer are making their way through the USA legal system.