CVN screenshot of J&J attorney Morton Dubin delivering his opening statement. Click here to see video from the trial.
Louisville, KY - A Kentucky state court jury returned a defense verdict in favor of Johnson & Johnson and Colgate-Palmolive on Friday in the first trial in the state over alleged cancer risks associated with the company’s cosmetic talc products.
The jury deliberated for less than an hour after hearing closing arguments earlier in the day in a trial that began in early July.
The full trial was webcast and recorded gavel-to-gavel by Courtroom View Network, and is available with a subscription to CVN's video library, along with numerous other talc and asbestos trials.
The trial was closely watched, both due to being the first cosmetic talc trial in Kentucky and also a case involving the California-based plaintiff firm Kazan McClain Satterley & Greenwood, which had previously notched three major wins in cosmetic talc trials, including one in J&J’s home state of New Jersey that ended in a $117 million verdict.
Friday’s verdict also makes just the second time a jury weighed in on a trial including both J&J and Colgate. The only other such trial to date, also involving Kazan McClain Satterley & Greenwood, ended earlier this summer in California with a plaintiff’s verdict.
Both J&J and Colgate argued that talc does not cause mesothelioma, the form of cancer contracted by plaintiff Donna Hayes and frequently associated with asbestos exposure. Hayes claimed she developed the fatal illness by inhaling asbestos allegedly present in products like Johnson’s Baby Powder and Cashmere Bouquet for decades.
J&J and Colgate successfully argued that Hayes’ cancer was the result of exposure to asbestos from various garages where her husband worked over the course of many years as a mechanic.
Another J&J talc/mesothelioma trial that began at roughly the same time as the Kentucky case remains underway in New Jersey, and additional trials are slated for later this month in California.
State courts will likely see an uptick in cosmetic talc trials over coming months, after a Delaware federal judge rejected an effort by J&J to consolidate the thousands of cosmetic talc-related claims sprawled across state courts throughout the country into the federal court where their talc supplier Imerys’ bankruptcy proceedings are playing out.
J&J was represented by Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, and Colgate was represented by Gordon & Rees LLP.
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