A Los Angeles County jury has returned a $13 million verdict in favour of a mesothelioma victim, Judith Winkel, against the Colgate-Palmolive Company.

In a unanimous verdict, the jury found that Colgate-Palmolive’s “Cashmere Bouquet” talcum powder was responsible for causing Judith Winkle to contract mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer caused by asbestos. This is the first verdict ever against Colgate-Palmolive for asbestos exposure from talcum powder.

According to the lawsuit, Judy began using Cashmere Bouquet in 1961, when her colleagues gave her a can of the powder as a gift. Judy testified that she loved using the product, used it up and frequently bought more.

From 1961 to 1976, Judy used Cashmere Bouquet virtually every day. She shook the powder out of the container, creating “a little cloud, like dust cloud,” and when she applied it to her skin, “it felt silky and smooth.” Judy had no idea that this daily indulgence would cause her to be diagnosed with cancer nearly 40 years later.

Evidence in the case revealed that Colgate-Palmolive made Cashmere Bouquet from the 1930s to 1995. Prior to 1985, the company sourced talc from three different mines that were documented as being contaminated with asbestos as early as the 1940s. Colgate-Palmolive’s own later testing of the talc found it to contain asbestos, but never passed this information on to either the FDA or consumers. At trial, the company denied that its product contained asbestos or was responsible for causing Judy’s illness.

“This trial was about accountability,” said John Winkel, Judy’s husband. “Colgate made a dangerous product but they refused to admit it.”

Judy, a retired office clerk, mother and grandmother, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in January 2014. She was operated on by Dr. Robert Cameron, Director of the UCLA Comprehensive Mesothelioma Program.

“While we celebrate this first-ever verdict against Colgate-Palmolive,” said Roger Worthington of Worthington & Caron, “We are mindful that Judy continues to live with mesothelioma. She and her husband deserve compensation, but what they really want is to be able to play with their grandchildren and tend to their garden. With Dr. Cameron’s guidance, we are hopeful that Judy and her husband will enjoy many more years together.”

“Dr. Cameron is an incredible physician,” Mr Winkel stated, “We are so fortunate that he treated Judy and look forward to him being Judy’s doctor for the long term.”

But for now, Judy and John are relieved to have their legal battle behind them. John commented: “Thank God trial is over and we can get on with our lives and enjoy each other.”

If you or a family member have been affected by mesothelioma, please contact us on 0800 294 3065 where we will be able to help and advise you in the best way possible.