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BREAKING: Johnson & Johnson Reaches 1st Mid-Trial Cosmetic Talc Settlement

Posted by David Siegel on Mar 27, 2019 5:49:03 PM

Koretoff openings

CVN screenshot of plaintiff attorney Jeffrey Simon delivering his opening statement. Click here to see video from the trial. 

Santa Monica, CA - Johnson & Johnson reached a mid-trial settlement on Wednesday in a cosmetic talc lawsuit in California state court, marking the first time the company has settled a talc case after a jury began considering evidence. 

A Santa Monica jury heard opening statements in plaintiff Gail Koretoff's lawsuit on Monday. Koretoff, 36, claimed a lifetime of exposure to asbestos allegedly present in products like Johnson's Baby Powder caused her mesothelioma. 

On Wednesday Judge Chester Horn excused the jurors and ordered all spectators cleared from the courtroom. When they returned, he announced the case had been resolved. No terms of the deal were disclosed, and representatives for the parties did not immediately respond to requests for comment. 

Courtroom View Network webcast and recorded the trial's openings and first two days of testimony. 

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In January J&J reportedly paid $1.5 million to settle what would have been their first cosmetic talc case in New York City, but that occurred prior to the start of opening statements. 

That settlement, the first of its kind at the time, was widely viewed as a one-off to avoid a trial against Mark Lanier, the Texas-based attorney who landed a $4.6 billion talc verdict against J&J last summer in Missouri. 

J&J has rigorously defended against talc-related claims to date, appealing every plaintiff's verdict reached so far and also securing a smattering of defense verdicts and mistrials, including a defense verdict reached earlier Wednesday at another talc trial in New Jersey. 

The most recent J&J talc trial, which took place in Oakland, California, ended in a $29 million plaintiff verdict which was shortly followed by a 2 percent drop in J&J's stock price. That trial was also webcast and recorded by CVN. 

One additional J&J talc trial remains in progress in Long Beach, California. Another case settled Wednesday afternoon in Oklahoma City during jury deliberations.  

Koretoff is represented by Simon Greenstone Panatier PC, while J&J is represented by King & Spalding LLP.

The case is captioned Gail Koretoff v. Arkema Inc., et al., case number BC656506 in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

E-mail David Siegel at dsiegel@cvn.com

Topics: Products Liability