PORTLAND, Ore.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– A jury in Portland, Ore., has found in favor of a mother of three suffering from the deadly cancer mesothelioma and ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay her $260 million.

Kyung Lee, 49, of Beaverton, Ore., has used Johnson & Johnson cosmetic products throughout her lifetime and now suffers from the incurable cancer. Mesothelioma is a cancer of the lining of the lungs caused by exposure to asbestos. Ms. Lee was diagnosed in August 2023.

“For years, Kyung and her family used Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder not having any idea it could lead to a life-ending illness,” said Ms. Lee’s attorney Ben Adams of Dean Omar Branham Shirley. “Today, Ms. Lee was able to see justice and secure a future for her family after she is gone.”

The jury decided that Johnson & Johnson was directly responsible for Ms. Lee’s illness through its negligence and defective products, including the talc in Johnson’s Baby Powder, which has been shown to contain asbestos. During the trial, the jury heard testimony and saw evidence of the pharmaceutical company testing the talc powder, finding asbestos, but not taking the product off the market until recent years.

The jury awarded $60 million in compensatory damages and $200 million in punitive damages.

“Throughout this trial, J&J showed their true colors, attacking the plaintiff’s lawyers rather than acknowledging their conduct,” said partner Trey Branham. “We are so thankful that in this country there still is a mechanism to hold bad actors accountable.”

Dean Omar Branham Shirley attorneys represented Ms. Lee along with Devin Robinson of the Law Offices of Devin Robinson, P.C.


“I am honored to serve such a wonderful couple as Kyung and Joe Lee and to meet their equally wonderful children who are a testament to great parenting. The Lee family’s ability to maintain hope, even as Kyung faces the most dire of diagnoses, and to maintain grace and faith in the face of tragedy, is a family’s love in action.

To be local counsel for the tremendous team at Dean Omar Branham and Shirley, LLP, was also an honor. This case is a reminder that caring dedicated lawyers can help everyday Oregonians take on American corporate giants. Civil trials are the great equalizer of the power imbalance between people and corporations. Trials are the only place where people can take on vested corporate interests and have a chance at righting wrongs.

12 ordinary Multnomah County residents proved once again that the jury system is necessary to hold bad actors accountable. The jury worked hard, listened to and saw the evidence, asked thought-provoking questions of the witnesses, and came to a verdict that tells companies such as Johnson & Johnson that they can’t put products to market that hurt and kill Oregonians, and that Kyung Lee’s life, and Joe Lee’s love for Kyung, are important and valuable.” – Devin Robinson