A New Jersey jury ruled unanimously for Johnson & Johnson on Wednesday in the latest lawsuit to reach a verdict over accusations that the company’s talc-based powder products contained asbestos and caused a consumer’s cancer.
The jury, in Middlesex County Superior Court, not far from Johnson & Johnson’s New Brunswick headquarters, found that Ricardo Rimondi hadn’t proved that he was exposed to asbestos, a carcinogen, via the company’s baby powder.
Mr. Rimondi’s lawyers argued during the monthlong trial that years of exposure to products like baby powder had caused his mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the internal organs that is associated with asbestos.
Monica Cooper of the Lanier Law Firm, which represented Mr. Rimondi, said in a statement that her team was “obviously disappointed by the outcome, particularly in light of the overwhelming scientific and documentary evidence supporting the claims of the Rimondi family that J & J’s talcum-based baby powder is laced with asbestos.”
Mr. Rimondi was one of about 13,000 plaintiffs who have sued Johnson & Johnson, alleging that its products caused their cancer. The company has consistently denied that its powders were ever contaminated with asbestos.
Ms. Cooper’s firm helped a group of 22 women with ovarian cancer successfully sue Johnson & Johnson in St. Louis. A jury there awarded the women $4.69 billion last year after they argued that the company had known for decades about the risk of asbestos in talc. The company is appealing the decision.
In California this month, a jury ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay more than $29 million to a woman who claimed that asbestos in the company’s talc products had caused her mesothelioma.
The New York Times reported last year that Johnson & Johnson had spent years trying to obscure negative information linking asbestos to its products.
The verdict on Wednesday underscored “the decades of clinical evidence and scientific studies by medical experts around the world that support the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder,” Ernie W. Knewitz, a Johnson & Johnson spokesman, said in an email.
Mr. Knewitz said that three of the past nine cases involving mesothelioma had been decided in Johnson & Johnson’s favor, and that five others had ended in mistrials.