A terminal mesothelioma patient who won a $26.5 million verdict against Johnson & Johnson over its talcum baby powder asked the same California jury to award substantial punitive damages, accusing the company of recklessly dismissing red flags about asbestos.
Christina Prudencio, 35, is expected to die of her mesothelioma, which a jury in Alameda County, agreed was a result of Johnson & Johnson’s corporate decisions about how to address the possible dangers of talc or asbestos within the talc. J&J ignored every red flag.
Her lawyer, Joseph Satterley, showed the jury a video of J&J’s CEO resolutely declaring its talc’s safety as recently as December 2018.
“Thousands of tests by global authorities, universities and independent experts repeatedly confirm our talc is safe,” CEO Alex Gorsky said in the 2018 video. “I take this personally,” he said, adding that the company’s baby powder “does not cause cancer” and “has never contained asbestos.”
Satterley stopped the video and stated that Gorsky “lied.”
“December of 2018, they still say their products never had asbestos,” he said.
In another example, Satterley reminded the jury of exhibits that he said showed that an outside testing lab called McCrone had at one time found asbestos in samples, before J&J spoke up about it.
Born in 1986, Prudencio had used talcum powder daily from birth until the age of 16, when she stopped using it, but her exposure continued because it was used on her two younger siblings.
Prudencio had surgery to try to rid herself of cancer on her 34th birthday, Feb. 27, 2020. She was confined to bed for five days after the surgery. She also hemorrhaged at her sister’s house and had to be carried to an ambulance.
“This case has never been about money from Tina’s perspective. It’s been about money from J&J’s perspective,” Satterley said.