Johnson & Johnson Suffers Major Loss in Talc Litigation
In May, a New York state jury ordered Johnson & Johnson (J & J) to pay $300 million in punitive damages to a long-time user or J & J’s talcum powder products who contracted mesothelioma – a deadly cancer most typically seen among asbestos-exposed tradesman. This punitive damage verdict comes on the heels of the jury’s $25 million compensatory damages verdict rendered a few weeks earlier. Verdicts in this range have previously been reached in cases involving ovarian cancer victims that used J & J talc products, but this verdict is believed to be the first of its size in a case involving mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, heart, abdomen and other internal organs. Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos fibers, is often diagnosed in older individuals who worked with or around asbestos products years or even decades earlier. Tragically, family members of such individuals are also susceptible to contracting mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos fibers carried into their homes by exposed workers who share the home.
As with prior J & J talc cases involving ovarian cancer, the size of this verdict appears to have been driven by J & J’s internal documents, which “[lay] bare the shocking truth of decades of cover-up, deception and concealment by J&J of the asbestos found in talc baby powder.” As with its other prior talc losses, J & J intends to appeal this verdict. Currently J & J faces more than 13,000 talc related lawsuits.
While this New York case represents a substantial blow to J & J’s defense, the ultimate disposition of talcum powder/mesothelioma litigation remains to be determined. J & J has won several cases involving claims of mesothelioma from talcum power. In fact, a South Carolina jury cleared J & J of liability in a mesothelioma case the same day the New York jury delivered its verdict.
Nevertheless, the overall picture developing remains deeply problematic for J & J, as jury after jury sees the evidence of J & J’s decades-long cover up over the inherent dangers of its talc products, mined from talc seams that are also contaminated with asbestos. Massive verdicts have been awarded to victims whom J & J marketed its talc products as being completely safe. If you believe that you have contracted ovarian cancer or mesothelioma from exposure to talcum powder products, you should contact an experienced law firm right away to explore the possibility of a claim.
Last month, a New York state jury ordered Johnson & Johnson (J & J) to pay $300 million in punitive damages to a long-time user or J & J’s talcum powder products who contracted mesothelioma – a deadly cancer most typically seen among asbestos-exposed tradesman. This is believed to be the first of its size in a case involving mesothelioma.