Johnson & Johnson must pay about $29 million to a dying California woman who blamed asbestos-tainted talc for causing her cancer, the company’s latest loss in nationwide litigation over its iconic baby powder.
Jurors in state court in Oakland, Calif., Wednesday held J&J responsible for Teresa Leavitt’s mesothelioma, a cancer linked to asbestos exposure. The panel, which included a lawyer and a state-court judge, also found the world’s largest maker of health-care products didn’t warn Leavitt its baby powder was tainted with the carcinogen.
J&J stock dropped as much as 2 percent in after-hours trading to $136.40 after the verdict was announced. It closed at $139.41 Wednesday in New York. The company’s shares have been under pressure over the past six months because of the growing talc litigation.
The verdict is J&J’s seventh trial loss over claims it hid the health risks of its baby powder for 50 years. It’s the first defeat since a Missouri jury ordered the company last year to pay $4.69 billion to 22 women who blamed their cancer on the product.
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