There are thousands of pending lawsuits involving Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder. The cosmetic item is linked to many cancers, including mesothelioma.
A new legal claim regarding the Baby Powder is quite unique: It’s directed at a retail giant, not the manufacturing and pharmaceutical giant.
A lawsuit was filed in the United States Western District Court of New York against Walmart, Inc. The claimant filed the lawsuit “individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated,” making it a class action lawsuit. The claimant alleges Walmart continued selling Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder through its pharmacy store locations despite the much-publicized link to cancer.
Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder is made from talc, which is turned into talcum powder to keep skin dry and smooth. Asbestos can contaminate talc, and asbestos causes lung cancer, ovarian cancer and the rare cancer mesothelioma.
Walmart operates pharmacies in more than 4,000 of its stores, in every state, and in the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands. The pharmacy sells many health and beauty products.
Why This Lawsuit Is Different From Others
Consumer health and safety liability typically falls on the manufacturer. Lawsuits related to Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder almost always go against Johnson & Johnson, the manufacturer of the talcum powder.
However, this claim is intriguing. The claimant states Walmart knew Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder was dangerous yet sold it anyways.
There is reason to believe Walmart knew — or should’ve known — the product was unsafe. Johnson & Johnson discontinued production and sale of the Baby Powder item in 2020 amid thousands of legal claims.
The much-publicized news could be grounds for a reasonable expectation of retailers to react accordingly. Retailers usually don’t make the products they sell. However, there could be a legal argument that they have a duty to protect their customers from known faulty products.
The lawsuit is also unique for not mentioning any diagnosis of cancer. As far as the content from the official lawsuit document, the claimant does not have any of the cancers linked to this item. However, some asbestos cancers like mesothelioma take 20-50 years before a malignant tumor forms.
So while the claimant doesn’t have this disease, lung cancer or ovarian cancer, it might be a case of not having it “yet.”
Trust in Retailer Broken
The claimant’s case resides solely on the retailer’s duty to sell safe products and not sell known harmful ones. A few consecutive lines in the lawsuit point to the basis of the class action:
“Due to the overwhelming number of cancer claims and lost legal battles, J&J stopped selling the Product in the United States and Canada in May 2020. Stores around the country such as Defendant (Walmart), however, continued to sell remaining inventory of the Product (Baby Powder), notwithstanding the manufacturer’s decision to remove it from stores.”
The lawsuit continues, “Despite the wealth of scientific research revealing the carcinogenic effects of asbestos and thousands of lawsuits against the Product’s manufacturer elucidating its hazards, Defendant continued to market the Product as safe for consumer use. Defendant provided no warning or disclaimer that the Product had been shown to contain asbestos and posed severe health and carcinogenic risks. Through a variety of advertising methods and omissions, Defendant made false representations regarding the true nature of the Product.”
The claim is simply that Walmart falsely advertised and marketed Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder as safe for use, contrary to public knowledge.
Another stretch of the lawsuit explains the claimant’s legal position:
“In its efforts to promote the health and wellness of its customers, Defendant promised that its stores would not sell or promote products which are detrimental to their health and wellness. As a result, Plaintiff purchased a Product that was unreasonably dangerous and not as represented by Defendant. Plaintiff and consumers expected to purchase a safe cosmetic product only to learn that they were purchasing a dangerous product which could, and often did, cause cancer.”
Other Misled Customers May Join Lawsuit
This case is interesting for both the basis of the claim and the size of the defendant company. Walmart is a massive retail corporation with locations in multiple countries.
Since this is a class action lawsuit, it’ll be interesting to see if other consumers join in the lawsuit. The class action can include any New York-residing Walmart customer who purchased Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder.
We encourage anyone who feels exploited by a corporate giant to take them on in court. Many diagnosed with mesothelioma file asbestos lawsuits or seek help through asbestos trust funds. For cases involving Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder, the customers’ health and livelihood is at risk. Companies producing or selling products known to be dangerous should be held responsible.
Sources & Author
- Corbett v. Walmart Inc. – 1:21-cv-00996. ClassAction.org. Retrieved from: https://www.classaction.org/media/corbett-v-walmart-inc.pdf. Accessed: 10/27/2021.
Sources & Author