On October 19, after a trial that had lasted more than a month, $18.07 million dollars in damages were awarded by a California state court jury to a 68-year-old man who had alleged in his lawsuit that the talc-supplier defendant had contributed to the plaintiff’s development of mesothelioma, a fatal cancer caused by asbestos exposure.
The plaintiff, a former aide to Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, alleged in the trial that he was exposed to asbestos-tainted talcum powder both as a child visiting the barber shop where his father had worked and by using men’s cosmetic products that contained contaminated talc.
The jury reportedly found this defendant 30 percent at fault for the mesothelioma. (Other defendants were no longer active in the lawsuit at the time of trial.)
According to the Insurance Journal, the jury found that the defendant talc supplier acted with malice when it sold talc while claiming it had no asbestos in it without having conducted adequate tests. Acting with malice could potentially have opened up the defendant talc company to punitive damages in the next phase of the trial. (Punitive damages are meant to punish a defendant for malicious behavior and to deter others from engaging in the same conduct.)
Accordingly, the parties agreed to a confidential settlement before the punitive damages question was litigated.
Asbestos, a microscopic mineral used as an insulator against heat and strengthener in many products, is sometimes found in the ground in close proximity to talc deposits and thereby mined together, sometimes contaminating the talc, which is used widely in cosmetic and personal-hygiene products for men and women of all ages.
Asbestos in talcum powder when used for feminine hygiene purposes has frequently been linked to the development of ovarian cancer. On October 27, a St. Louis, Missouri, jury awarded approximately $70 million to a female plaintiff who alleged that Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder had caused her ovarian cancer, reports FairWarning.
Anyone who suspects that use of talc in hygiene and make-up products may have contributed to mesothelioma or ovarian cancer should speak with an attorney immediately.