Signaling a change in legal strategy, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has settled three more mesothelioma-related lawsuits. The cases, which were in the midst of trials, were brought on by women who claimed they were exposed to asbestos when using the company’s Baby Powder products. That exposure, they claim, led to the development of mesothelioma.
The settlements come as the pharmaceutical giant is facing thousands of talcum powder lawsuits filed by plaintiffs who claim to have developed mesothelioma or ovarian cancer from the products.
One of the plaintiffs, Sharon Pipes, received an 11th-hour settlement as a jury in Oklahoma began deliberating after a two-and-a-half-week trial.
Another plaintiff, Gail Koretoff, came to a settlement after jurors had deliberated for two days.
The third settlement came in another case scheduled for trial later in the month. The plaintiff, Jenny Shulman, was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma after using J&J’s talcum powder for feminine hygiene purposes. Shulman had an expert witness that was going to testify about finding talc and asbestos in Shulman’s ovarian and fallopian tissue.
Her case was slated to begin trial in late April 2019.
All three plaintiffs had developed peritoneal mesothelioma and claimed to have used J&J’s talc powder products for an extended period of time.
Officials at J&J have denied allegations that the company is shifting its litigation strategy regarding talc powder lawsuits. The company told Bloomberg that these settlements were merely “one-off situations.”
The company maintains that its talcum powder products do not contain asbestos. Still, juries have found J&J responsible for some plaintiffs’ ovarian cancer and mesothelioma in past trials.
There are more than 20 talcum powder trials scheduled this year in the U.S. Virtually all of the cases involve plaintiffs with a mesothelioma diagnosis.
In December 2018, J&J and Imerys SA, the company’s talc supplier, came to a $1.5-million settlement in a similar mesothelioma case.