Start of Johnson & Johnson Talc Powder Trial in Manhattan Delayed Until New Year

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The trial, which is before Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Barbara Jaffe, is the 11th regarding Johnson & Johnson’s allegedly asbestos-laden talcum powder, which plaintiffs say is giving them cancer.

The Johnson & Johnson talcum powder trial that was set begin in a Manhattan state court this week is being held off until January because there weren’t enough potential jurors available to sit for the case.

The trial, which is before Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Barbara Jaffe, is the 11th regarding Johnson & Johnson’s allegedly asbestos-laden talcum powder, which plaintiffs say is giving them cancer.

The talc trials have been conducted in state courts across the country and of which four have ended in mistrials.
Attorneys for plaintiffs taking on the consumer-goods and pharmaceuticals giant have managed to win big verdicts in some venues, including the record-breaking $4.7 billion verdict that a St. Louis jury handed up earlier this year in favor of 22 plaintiffs, which was approved by a judge and which Johnson & Johnson is appealing. Other juries have handed up awards of $117 million and more than $25 million to plaintiffs. But overall Johnson & Johnson has the upper hand in litigation: three juries have found for the defense, which includes one in a New Jersey trial that needed only half an hour to render a defense verdict.

In the Manhattan case, plaintiff Ann Zoas, a 78-year-old Suffolk County resident, alleges that using Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder led to her 2017 diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma. According to court papers, she smoked for most of her life and says she was not exposed to asbestos by way of any of the jobs that she’s held.

The company denies that its talcum powder contains asbestos and that it is responsible for Zoas’ diagnosis, court papers state. The company also notes that Zoas has previously been diagnosed with throat cancer.

By Andrew Denney | November 28, 2018 at 06:14 PM