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Jury clears Johnson & Johnson of liability in California talc cancer case

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A California jury on Wednesday cleared Johnson & Johnson of liability in a case involving a woman who alleged that the company’s talc-based products, including its baby powder, contain asbestos and caused her cancer, the company said.

The jury in Humboldt County Superior Court in Eureka, California rejected claims by Carla Allen who said that her mesothelioma, a tissue cancer closely linked to asbestos exposure, was caused by the company’s talc products, including Johnson’s Baby Powder.

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J&J denies the allegations, saying decades of scientific testing and regulatory approvals have shown its talc to be safe and asbestos-free.

Plaintiffs in the litigation allege that J&J knew of asbestos fibers in its cosmetic talc and concealed risks associated with the products.

The New Brunswick, New Jersey-based company faces some 11,700 U.S. talc lawsuits, according to an October regulatory filing. More than 9,700 of those cases involve claims over ovarian cancer, recent filings in New Jersey federal court, where most of the cases are consolidated, showed.

The remaining plaintiffs allege asbestos in J&J’s talc caused them to develop mesothelioma.

J&J in a statement on Wednesday said it was pleased with the jury’s decision in the case of Allen.

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“While we deeply sympathize with anyone suffering from any form of cancer, the science and facts show that her disease was not caused by her use of our talcum-based products,” the company said.

The California jury reached its decision following a roughly seven-week long jury trial, court records showed, but further details were not immediately available.

Lawyers for Allen did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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J&J has been fighting talc cancer lawsuits for several years, but the litigation shifted in recent months to include allegations of asbestos contamination.

Plaintiffs now claim asbestos fibers in the products are causing both ovarian cancer and mesothelioma.

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J&J to date has been cleared of liability in three mesothelioma cases. It has lost two mesothelioma cases in New Jersey and California, with juries awarding a total of $142 million in damages. Both cases are under appeal.

Four additional mesothelioma cases resulted in a mistrial because jurors could not reach a verdict or because the plaintiff died.

In July, a Missouri jury hit J&J with a massive $4.69 billion verdict in the first trial alleging asbestos contamination has caused ovarian cancer in 22 women. That decision is also under appeal.

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Reporting by Tina Bellon; Editing by Richard Chang


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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Pence spokesman denies Sondland testimony linking him to Ukraine scheme

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Vice President Mike Pence scrambled away from testimony from EU ambassador Gordon Sondland linking him to the Ukraine scandal.

The ambassador told a House impeachment inquiry that Pence was notified of concerns that military aid to Ukraine had been held up until the foreign government announced an investigation of Joe Biden.

“The Vice President never had a conversation with Gordon Sondland about investigating the Bidens, Burisma, or the conditional release of financial aid to Ukraine based upon potential investigations," said Pence spokesman Marc Short.

President Donald Trump had been scheduled to meet Ukraine's new president Volodymyr Zelensky on Sept. 1 in Warsaw, but Sondland said the president bowed out to oversee hurricane response and sent Pence instead.

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‘It’s all over’: Trump shouts Sondland quotes at reporters before wandering off without taking questions

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President Donald Trump did not answer questions while leaving the White House nearly an hour late for an event in Texas.

Trump departed during questioning of Ambassador Gordon Sondland, whose testimony earlier in the day had implicated the president, Vice President Mike Pence, Rudy Giuliani and others.

“I don’t know him very well. I have not spoken to him much. This is not a man I know well. He seems like a nice guy though," Trump said of Sondland.

Trump also disputed Sondland's characterization that he had once been in a bad mood.

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Ex-Republican Justin Amash roasts his former party for disastrous impeachment hearings: ‘Is there a mercy rule?’

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Rep. Justin Amash (I-MI) had some fun at the expense of his former party on Wednesday in the midst of European Union ambassador Gordon Sondland's damning testimony during House impeachment hearings.

After watching Sondland testify that there was an explicit quid-pro-quo agreement linking launching investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden with holding a face-to-face meeting between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Amash declared that the EU ambassador "has eviscerated the Trump/Republican narrative."

He then jokingly asked if there was "a mercy rule for congressional hearings" given how badly the hearings have gone for Trump so far.

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