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New Jersey jury clears J&J of liability in latest talc cancer trial

FILE PHOTO: Bottles of Johnson & Johnson baby powder line a drugstore shelf in New York October 15, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

(Reuters) – A New Jersey jury on Wednesday cleared Johnson & Johnson of liability in a lawsuit by a man who alleged asbestos in the company’s talc-based products, including baby powder, caused his mesothelioma.

The unanimous jury returned its verdict in Middlesex County Superior Court in New Brunswick, just miles from J&J’s headquarters, in the case of plaintiff Ricardo Rimondi.

J&J, which faces some 13,000 talc-related lawsuits nationwide, denies that its talc causes cancer, saying numerous studies and tests by regulators worldwide have shown its talc to be safe and asbestos-free.

In a trial that lasted a month, lawyers for Rimondi told jurors that asbestos-tainted J&J talc products caused the man’s mesothelioma, a type of cancer that has been linked to asbestos exposure. But the jury on Wednesday returned its verdict in favor of the company after only half an hour of deliberations, according to a livestream of the proceedings by Courtroom View Network.

J&J in a statement said the jury’s decision underscored decades of clinical evidence and scientific studies by medical experts around the world supporting the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder.

Reporting by Tina Bellon in New York; Editing by Bill Berkrot

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