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Man wins $18.8 million from Johnson & Johnson after claiming he got cancer from baby powder

Man wins $18.8 million from Johnson & Johnson after claiming he got cancer from baby powder

The California man has an extremely rare form of cancer

A California man has won $18.8 million from Johnson & Johnson after a cancer claim against one of its popular products.

Emory Hernandes Valadez, 24, has mesothelioma. This type of cancer develops in the lining that covers the outer surface of organs, mainly the lungs.

It isn’t possible to be cured and is usually linked to asbestos exposure. According to, the average life expectancy for someone treated for mesothelioma is 18 to 31 months.

Hernandez said he developed it in the tissue around his heart as a result of heavy exposure to Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) baby powder in childhood, as reported by Reuters.

Hernandez sued the New Jersey-based company last year in California. It was the first trial over talc that J&J has faced in almost two years.

Hernandez claims heavy exposure to the product caused his mesothelioma.
Anchalee Phanmaha / Getty Images

He was awarded economic damages of $3.8 million and noneconomic damages of $15 million.

The jury found he was entitled to damages to compensate him for the medical bills as well as the pain and suffering he faces.

However, Hernandez might not be seeing any of this compensation any time in the near future due to a bankruptcy court order. This has frozen most litigation over J&J’s talc.

US Chief Bankruptcy Judge Michael Kaplan allowed this California man’s litigation to proceed due to his prognosis.

J&J’s vice president of litigation, Erik Haas, said in a statement that the company plans to appeal the verdict. He argued it was unable to share evidence with the jury that the baby powder didn’t cause Hernandez’s mesothelioma.

“Without the benefit of that evidence, the verdict is irreconcilable with the decades of independent scientific evaluations confirming Johnson’s baby powder is safe, does not contain asbestos and does not cause cancer,” Haas said.

There is currently a bankruptcy court order.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

In closing arguments on 10 July, lawyers for the company said there was no evidence linking his rare form of cancer to asbestos or to prove Hernandez was ever exposed to ‘tainted talc’.

Whereas his lawyers closing arguments accused J&J of having a ‘despicable’ decades-long coverup.

His mother also testified to using large amounts of the baby power on him throughout his childhood and cried as she described his illness.

Anna Camacho said in June: “I do not wish this on any parent.”

According to the American Cancer Society, talc is a mineral made up mainly of magnesium, silicon and oxygen. They also write that ‘some talc contains asbestos’, which is known to cause cancers in and around the lungs when inhaled.

Tens of thousands have sued J&J with allegations that its baby powder and other talc sometimes contained asbestos. The company has said its talc products are safe and do not contain the substance.

J&J filed for bankruptcy in April and said it has spent $4.5 billion in jury awards, settlements and legal fees relating to its talc since 2017.

Featured Image Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images / Anchalee Phanmaha/ Getty Images

Topics: Health, US News