Oregon Jury Awards $260M In Johnson & Johnson Talc Powder Trial, Watch Gavel-to-Gavel via CVN

Posted by David Siegel on Jun 4, 2024 8:18:04 AM

Lee closings

CVN screenshot of plaintiff attorney Benjamin Adams delivering his closing argument

Portland, OR - An Oregon state court jury returned a $260 million verdict on Monday in the latest trial over allegations asbestos in Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based baby powder causes cancer, and the full trial was webcast and recorded gavel-to-gavel by Courtroom View Network.

The Multnomah County jury awarded $60 million in compensatory damages and $200 million in punitive damages to plaintiff Kyung Lee, 48, and her husband who allege Lee developed mesothelioma from inhaling asbestos supposedly present in Johnson’s Baby Powder.

J&J said it would immediately appeal the verdict and argued during trial that Lee’s asbestos exposure came from other sources, primarily a textile plant near her childhood home in South Korea, and that their talc products were rigorously screened for asbestos. 


The verdict marks a significant development as J&J seeks a large-scale settlement of pending talc claims. The company is reportedly pursuing a $6.48 billion settlement to resolve the majority of the roughly 61,000 cases still pending in state and federal courts nationwide. The majority of those cases involve women claiming talc powder caused ovarian cancer, while most talc/mesothelioma cases like Lee’s have been resolved.

Nonetheless, a verdict of this scale could potentially make plaintiffs in future cases more likely to go to trial, despite J&J racking up a string of consecutive trial victories in cosmetic talc cases after courts reopened following the Covid-19 pandemic.

Attorney Ben Adams of the Dallas-based firm Dean Omar Branham Shirley LLP, who represented the plaintiffs, said in a statement the award would help Lee's family after she succumbs to her fatal cancer. 

"For years, Kyung and her family used Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder not having any idea it could lead to a life-ending illness,” Adams said, " “Today, Ms. Lee was able to see justice and secure a future for her family after she is gone.” 

A J&J spokesperson told CVN after the trial the verdict “is irreconcilable with the decades of independent scientific evaluations confirming talc is safe, does not contain asbestos, and does not cause cancer.”

Dean Omar recently secured a $45 million verdict against J&J at a talc trial in Chicago. However shortly before that J&J landed a defense verdict at a talc case in Sarasota, Florida, and prior to that another trial in Miami ended in a mistrial with a hung jury.

Both Florida trials, in addition to the Oregon trial and dozens more cosmetic talc cases are available for unlimited on-demand viewing with a monthly or annual subscription to CVN’s online trial video library (video coverage remains prohibited at civil trials in Chicago).

The only collection of its kind, CVN’s online video library contains hundreds of gavel-to-gavel civil jury trials featuring top plaintiff and defense attorneys in addition to thousands of expert witnesses.

Dean Omar and J&J will square off again on the firm’s home turf in Dallas, with jury selection in another talc trial beginning today in Texas state court. CVN will also be webcasting and recording those proceedings.

J&J was represented in the Oregon case by Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP.

The trial took place before Judge Katharine von Ter Stegge.

The case is captioned Lee v. Johnson & Johnson, docket number 23CV400369 in the 4th Judicial District of Oregon.

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Topics: Asbestos