Talc Supplier Opts Out of Jury Decision, Decides to Settle in Pasadena Johnson & Johnson Trial

Published : Tuesday, September 18, 2018 | 5:24 AM

A company that supplies talc to Johnson and Johnson has agreed to settle its part of a California woman’s lawsuit unfolding in the Pasadena Courthouse this week.

The suit blames both companies for causing her mesothelioma, a type of cancer that develops from the thin layer of tissue (the mesothelium) covering many of the internal organs including the lungs and chest wall.

The judge at the Los Angeles Superior Court in Pasadena announced Imerys Talc America has decided to settle as the trial reached its fourth week and just before lawyers for the company were scheduled to give closing arguments before the jury, Bloomberg reported Monday.

The terms of the settlement weren’t disclosed, but Imerys said it is “committed to the quality and safety of its products,” citing testing results that the company said did not show asbestos, the report said.

Last week, attorneys for Carolyn Weirick said Johnson and Johnson and Imerys should pay $29.2 million and punitive damages for knowingly selling talcum powder contaminated with asbestos. They said Johnson and Johnson’s baby powder and other products caused her cancer.

In one of the largest product-defect verdicts in U.S. history, a St. Louis jury in July ordered Johnson and Johnson to pay almost $5 billion in damages to 22 women who blamed the company’s products for their ovarian cancer. The verdict is on appeal.

Imerys had also reached a confidential settlement, which reportedly included at least $5 million in payments, a few days before that trial.

Johnson and Johnson is facing more than 10,000 other lawsuits claiming its baby powder caused cancer.

The Bloomberg report said lawyers for Johnson and Johnson asked Judge Margaret Oldendorf to grant a mistrial after they learned about Imerys’ decision, but the judge refused and will allow jurors to weigh claims against the company.

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