The California Court of Appeal, First District, recently affirmed a jury verdict awarding Plaintiffs Teresa Leavitt and her husband, Dean J. McElroy, $29 million in compensatory damages against Johnson & Johnson. At trial, the jury determined that Johnson & Johnson’s cosmetic talc products caused Ms. Leavitt’s mesothelioma. Ms. Leavitt testified that Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder was applied to her as a baby and that she used the product on her face and body as an adult. She used Baby Powder almost daily for over thirty years. In 2017, Ms. Leavitt was diagnosed with mesothelioma. The jury found that Johnson & Johnson was liable for negligence, defective design, failure to warn, and concealing a dangerous product.
The 2019 case was the first successful jury verdict against Johnson & Johnson in the State of California following reports by major news sources revealing that Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder and other products were contaminated with asbestos. Ms. Leavitt was represented by Moshe Maimon of Levy Konigsberg and Joseph Satterley of Kazan, McClain, Satterley & Greenwood.
Johnson & Johnson moved to overturn the 2019 verdict that awarded over $29 million to the Plaintiffs. In August, 2021, the California Court of Appeal affirmed the decision and dismissed Johnson & Johnson’s claim that the verdict was not supported by evidence. The Court of Appeal held that the testimony of materials scientist, Dr. William Longo Ph.D., establishing the presence of asbestos in samples from two types of Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder, one of which was supplied by the Defendant, was admissible. In addition, the Court of Appeal determined that substantial evidence supported the jury finding that it was more likely than not that Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder contained asbestos during the period that Ms. Leavitt used it. The finding that the Plaintiff’s exposure to Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder was a significant contributor to her diagnosis was also substantiated by evidence at trial.
Mr. Maimon of Levy Konigsberg has tried and won some of the largest verdicts against Johnson & Johnson for claims that its asbestos-laden talc products cause cancer. In Lanzo v Johnson & Johnson Consumer, Inc. and Imerys Talc America, Inc., Mr . Maimon was part of the team that was awarded $117 million damages for proving that that the talc used in the company’s Baby Powder contains asbestos. Mr. Maimon also obtained a verdict of $750 million dollars in punitive damages in New Jersey Superior Court Middlesex County on behalf of four plaintiffs who developed mesothelioma after exposure to Johnson & Johnson talc products.
Levy Konigsberg LLP has been at the forefront of litigation against Johnson & Johnson for manufacturing and selling asbestos-contaminated products that cause mesothelioma and ovarian cancer. LK has won hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts for victims who have used Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based products. If you or a member of your family has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or ovarian cancer, please contact our lawyers for a free and confidential consultation by calling 1-800-988-8005 or submitting an email inquiry on this page.