South Carolina Jury Fails to Reach Verdict in J&J Talc Case

A South Carolina jury failed to reach a verdict in the second trial lawsuit claiming Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder caused mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer linked to asbestos exposure.

Jurors in the case said they were hopelessly deadlocked 11-1 in the lawsuit. Judge Jean Toal ordered a mistrial Thursday evening. There has been no comment on which side was favored in the split.

The lawsuit was brought on by the husband of Bertile Boyd-Bostic, who died of mesothelioma at the age of 30. Boyd-Bostic’s husband claimed J&J knew in the 1970s that its products contained the carcinogen asbestos but failed to warn the public in order to protect its reputation.

Toal had sent jurors back to deliberate several times and implored attorneys on both sides to come to a settlement.

Toal has been assigned to oversee talc cases in the state courts.

“We look forward to a new trial to present our defense, which rests on decades of independent, non-litigation driven scientific evaluations, none of which have found that Johnson’s Baby Powder contains asbestos,” said J&J spokeswoman Kim Montagnino.

Johnson & Johnson has won three trials and lost two over whether its Baby Powder products contain asbestos. Four other jury trials ended in mistrials due to jurors not agreeing on a verdict or because the plaintiff had died.

The majority of the 11,700 talc lawsuits Johnson & Johnson is facing involve claims of ovarian cancer, according to court filings in New Jersey. A small minority of cases claim that J&J’s talc caused them to develop mesothelioma.

The mistrial comes after a California jury’s decision on Wednesday found J&J’s talc was not responsible for a woman’s mesothelioma. The jury found that the plaintiff was exposed to asbestos-contaminated baby powder, but they also found that the exposure wasn’t a substantial factor in causing her cancer.



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