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Colgate Loses Talc Asbestos Lawsuit in LA

attorney speaking to juryFollowing a two-week trial in Los Angeles Superior Court, Colgate-Palmolive Co. was ordered to pay Judith Winkel and her spouse $12.4 million in damages, based on evidence that its talcum powder Cashmere Bouquet was the primary cause of Winkel’s mesothelioma. Sold from the late 1800s through 1995, Cashmere Bouquet was allegedly produced from talc harvested in asbestos-laden mines. The plaintiff’s attorneys presented evidence demonstrating that during her use of the product, the defendant extracted talc from mines in North Carolina, Montana and Northern Italy that were known to be contaminated.

According to Fair Warning, the jurors were considering additional punitive damages against Colgate when the defendant decided to settle the case for an undisclosed amount. Jurors rendered their verdict in less than two hours in a case that is the only second of its type to be heard in court. The first lawsuit alleging mesothelioma from asbestos-contaminated talc was tried in 2013 before a New Jersey jury. The panel sided against the defendant, Whittaker, Clark & Daniels, Inc., and awarded $1.6 million to the claimant who alleged his cancer was caused by asbestos fibers introduced by his father who worked at a factory where Old Spice and Desert Flower powders were manufactured.

As national drug injury lawyers, The Sanders Firm reports that several other Cashmere Bouquet claims against Colgate have been filed. More than ten other actions have been dismissed, according to Colgate, which continues to stand behind the safety of their talc products.

Plaintiff develops mesothelioma after using Cashmere Bouquet

In her lawsuit, 73-year-old Winkel claimed that she used Cashmere Bouquet as a dusting powder regularly from around 1961 through the mid-1970s before being diagnosed with mesothelioma.

An aggressive and deadly cancer, mesothelioma affects the thin layer of tissue that protects internal organs and is predominately linked to workplace asbestos exposure. Symptoms of the disease usually don’t manifest right away, but present decades after exposure.  For this reason, mesothelioma is frequently diagnosed after it has advanced through much of the body, making surgery or chemotherapy treatments less effective.

During the trial, the New York-based Colgate denied that Cashmere Bouquet was contaminated by asbestos. In a statement to Fair Warning, a company spokesperson said their product “played no part in causing the plaintiff’s illness. In order to avoid devoting resources to continuing litigation through the appeals process, the parties have entered in a confidential settlement.”

Legal counsel for the defendants also argued that studies of their mine workers never revealed a single case of mesothelioma, even though they had massive talc exposure every day.

Lawsuits concerning cosmetic-grade talc and cancer

Winkel’s case is unlike other talcum powder litigation currently pending against manufacturers like Johnson & Johnson, which makes Shower-to-Shower and Baby Powder – also made from talc. These claims do not contend the products are laden with asbestos, but rather that they can cause ovarian cancer in women when used in the vaginal area over an extended period of time. Court filings indicate that at least 700 talc cancer lawsuits are currently making their way through the legal system.

If you or a loved one suspect injury from talc-based products, it’s essential you enlist the help of veteran product liability lawyers with the experience and resources to litigate your case effectively. Since 1967, The Sanders Firm has grown into one of the nation’s most formidable law firms, taking on Big Pharma and leading the charge in settlement negotiations of medical claims and mass torts.

Our lawyers offer confidential case evaluations free of charge and fight diligently for your rights. For more information about your legal options, call us toll-free at 1-800-FAIR-PLAY.


  1. FairWarning.org, Colgate-Palmolive Suffers Courtroom Loss in Asbestos-Talc Powder Case http://www.fairwarning.org/2015/04/colgate-palmolive-suffers-courtroom-loss-in-asbestos-talc-powder-case/#sthash.79bJSGhq.dpuf

  2. American Association for Cancer Research, Genital Powder Use and Risk of Ovarian Cancer http://cancerpreventionresearch.aacrjournals.org/content/early/2013/06/12/1940-6207.CAPR-13-0037.full.pdf+html