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Johnson & Johnson took yet another multi-million dollar hit over its talc product, baby powder. In a New Jersey state trial, jurors deliberated for about two hours before issuing a $186 million decision that holds the company liable for knowingly covering up asbestos contamination in its talc products.
Initially, the state jury ordered the company to pay punitive damages of $750 million. However, because of New Jersey state law, the total was reduced by the judge to $185 million.
Four victims allege that Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder was contaminated with asbestos that caused their mesothelioma after years of use. The punitive damages were to hold the company responsible for hiding contamination from the public with reckless indifference to the consequences.
In addition to the award for punitive damages, jurors issued four separate verdicts totaling $187.5 million for each of the victims for their injuries. The four mesothelioma victims received the following amounts for their injuries:
- Douglas Barden – $36.25 million
- David Etheridge – $47.25 million
- D’Angela McNeill-George – $73.5 million
- Will Ronning- $29.5 million
Mr. Ronning passed away after the compensatory trial ended in September 2019.
Johnson & Johnson maintains that its baby powder is asbestos-free. Further, the company vowed to appeal the compensatory and punitive phases of the case “based on the numerous legal errors” presented to the jury. The company says that the jury received “irrelevant information” that “prevented them from hearing meaningful evidence.”
The company also said that decades of evidence show that J&J has a history of acting responsibly through sound science.
Does J&J’s baby powder contain asbestos?
While the company maintains that 40 years of independent studies have revealed their product as safe, however, this simply isn’t the case. In October 2019, an expert witness that has been paid by the company found asbestos in a random test requested by the FDA. The private lab has served as a litigation expert on behalf of J&J since 2017 in its defense against plaintiffs’ cancer claims.
This finding prompted a recall of certain lots of Baby Powder after the FDA announced the discovery. The company attacked the validity of the FDA’s finding and hired another lab to investigate.
The discovery was a blow to J&J’s position that its product was safe. The company is now struggling with balancing whether or not to discredit its own witness.
Did J&J rig tests to hide asbestos in talc?
Jurors in the New Jersey trial heard that Johnson & Johnson rigged its testing procedures so it could falsely claim its talc products did not contain asbestos.
Plaintiffs’ attorneys allege that J&J set unusually high detection limits to allow them to say nothing was detected.
The Carlson Law Firm Can Help
The Carlson Law Firm is accepting talcum powder lawsuit clients from all 50 states. If you’ve developed ovarian cancer and have used Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder, contact us today. We can help you navigate the complex legal system to get the compensation you deserve. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.