In a stunning turn of events, a South Carolina jury has awarded a whopping $29.14 million to a 35-year-old woman who claims her malignant mesothelioma is the result of using asbestos-contaminated cosmetic talc products since childhood.
Sarah Plant, a victim of a rare and fatal cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, represents a new generation of asbestos victims, as she has no occupational or environmental history of asbestos exposure. Instead, she points the finger at various cosmetic talc products she has used throughout her life, and several major companies found themselves in her crosshairs.
During the trial, Johnson & Johnson, Avon, Mary Kay Cosmetics, and makeup pigment maker Color Techniques were all named as defendants, as well as talc manufacturer IMI Fabi and talc supplier Whittaker, Clark & Daniels. However, by the end of the trial, only the latter two remained, and the jury found IMI Fabi not responsible, leaving Whittaker, Clark & Daniels to foot the entire bill.
Interestingly, many of the original defendants reached settlement agreements with Ms. Plant before the case even went to the jury for decision. Johnson & Johnson was one such defendant, thanks to ongoing legal proceedings related to its subsidiary, LTL Management, which now shoulders the company’s talc liabilities.
Despite the favorable verdict, the swift and aggressive nature of mesothelioma has left Ms. Plant’s family wishing for a better way than having juries resolve these cases every time. As a family representative stated, “It’s truly horrible for our clients who don’t have time.”