By Tina Bellon
(Reuters) - A trial for a lawsuit alleging that Johnson & Johnson
J&J said that its widely-used baby powder never contained asbestos, a known carcinogen linked to mesothelioma.
The case also names as a defendant a local unit of Rite Aid
The case marked the first time a drugstore was involved in a talcum powder liability trial and a lawyer for the company, Sarah Johnston, said there was no reason for Rite Aid to be part of the suit.
In opening statements, a lawyer for the family of Bertila Boyd-Bostic, who died of a rare form of cancer in 2017 at the age of 30, told a jury in the Darlington County Court of Common Pleas that J&J had known for decades that its baby powder contained asbestos.
J&J and its supplier, a unit of Imerys SA
The case is one of several in recent months that alleged asbestos in talc products caused mesothelioma..
A New Jersey state court jury in April ordered J&J and Imerys to pay $117 million to a man who alleged he developed mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure from J&J Baby Powder. An appeal is pending.
J&J has also been battling some 6,000 cases claiming its baby powder caused ovarian cancer.
Boyd-Bostic used baby powder nearly all her life, her family's lawyer, Christopher Swett, said on Monday. In 2016, she was diagnosed with pericardial mesothelioma, an extremely rare form of cancer that develops in the lining around the heart.
"J&J's choices are why we're here," Swett said. He accused the company of concealing knowledge of asbestos contamination since the 1970s and choosing not to warn consumers of the risks.
Bruce Bishop, a lawyer for J&J, said there was no evidence in Boyd-Bostic's medical records that her mesothelioma was in any way related to asbestos exposure.
Michael Brown, another J&J lawyer, said millions of people had used Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder without developing any diseases. "And that's because it does not contain asbestos," he said.
(Reporting by Tina Bellon)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
Updated Date: May 15, 2018 05:05 AM