The trial of a California woman claiming Johnson & Johnson caused her mesothelioma has concluded in her favor. On August 23, the jury delivered 35-year-old Christina Prudencio a compensatory verdict of $26.5 million, according to Law360.
Prudencio’s trial originally began June 15 over Zoom. In the course of the lawsuit, Prudencio’s attorney, Joseph Satterley, claimed that her surgery, hemorrhage, and terminal mesothelioma were all rooted in Johnson & Johnson ignoring decades of proof that their talcum products were unsafe.
Satterly presented the jury a timeline of events in which Johnson & Johnson refused to acknowledge the mounting body of evidence that their talcum product was contaminated with asbestos, a chief cause of mesothelioma.
Among the incidents Satterly presented was a 1971 meeting in which a researcher described finding chrysotile asbestos in the company’s talc, and a 1976 incident in which Johnson & Johnson pressured executives at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York to publicly reverse course about their findings that there was asbestos in talc.
In his closing arguments, Satterly stated that a reasonable company hearing this in the ‘70s “would stop, take the product off the marketplace. 'Let's study it; let's look at it; let's see if there's really carcinogens in our product.' That's what a reasonable company does.”
Instead, Johnson & Johnson’s talcum products stayed on shelves until 2020, well into the middle of the swaths of lawsuits that claimed the company’s talcum products were deadly.
Johnson & Johnson’s attorneys claimed that Christina Prudencio’s mesothelioma had been caused by a genetic mutation. The jury disagreed and awarded Prudencio the multimillion-dollar verdict.
This verdict is not the end of Prudencio’s case. The jury has now begun deliberating the potential punitive damages to be awarded for Johnson & Johnson’s actions.