A California jury has ruled in favor of a woman who claims that asbestos-contaminated talc in Avon cosmetics caused her to develop mesothelioma, according to a report by MedicalMalpracticeLawyers.com. The jury awarded 76-year-old Rita Chapman, a resident of Scottsdale, Arizona, $40 million in actual damages and $10.3 million in punitive damages after finding that company management knew the talc posed a cancer risk but failed to warn consumers.
Avon was acquired by Natura Cosmetics SA in 2020 and that year, the company removed talc from its products marketed in the United States — at a time it was defending nearly 130 talc lawsuits, the same source reports. Chapman was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2021. Bloomberg added that during trial, evidence showed that Avon was selling off stocks of those powders at the time the plaintiff was using them.
This judgement follows a March 2021 ruling where Avon was dismissed from a similar mesothelioma case brought forth by Alicia Ramirez, who also alleged the company's talc-containing products caused her mesothelioma. According to the law firm Hawkins Parnell & Young, LLP, the judged ruled the plaintiffs could not prove the products used by Ramirez contained asbestos. Further, the firm presented evidence that Avon’s quality assurance measures and internal screening and testing programs ensured that the raw talc used in the manufacture of its products was asbestos-free.
Responding to the Chapman decision, Avon stated, “We are disappointed by this verdict and will vigorously pursue all available avenues to appeal. Avon is confident that it has strong grounds for appeal and will continue to defend its position.”