California jury awards $29M in baby powder cancer case

Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ) stock fell as much as 11% on Friday — on track for its worst day since 2002 — after a Reuters report said the company knew for decades that asbestos was in its baby powder.

OAKLAND, Calif. — Johnson & Johnson must pay $29 million to a woman who claimed its baby powder gave her terminal cancer, a California jury ruled Wednesday.

A Superior Court jury in Oakland found the world’s largest health care company mainly liable for Teresa Leavitt’s mesothelioma. The verdict said that the baby powder was a “substantial contributing factor” in her illness.

Her suit is one of many that link cancers to asbestos in Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based products and contend that the company concealed the health risk for decades.

Requests for comment from the New Jersey-based comment were not immediately answered.

Johnson & Johnson is facing some 13,000 similar lawsuits around the country.

The company has insisted that its talc-based products are demonstrably safe but it has lost a string of court cases.

Last year, a Los Angeles jury awarded $25.7 million to a woman who blamed her cancer on the powder.

A jury in Missouri last year awarded $4.69 million to 22 women.

Johnson & Johnson’s stock price dropped nearly 2 percent after hours on Wednesday before recovering to close at $139.41.

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