New York jury orders J&J to pay $300 million in punitive damages

In the latest news on the tainted talc cases against Johnson & Johnson, a Manhattan jury has awarded a couple $25 million in compensatory damages and another $300 million in punitive damages. Punitive damages are meant to punish wrongdoers. The jury agreed that asbestos in J&J’s talc-based products caused the wife’s mesothelioma.

As we’ve discussed before on this blog, Johnson & Johnson is facing over 14,000 lawsuits claiming that its baby powder and another talc-based product, Shower to Shower, were tainted by asbestos and caused cancer after regular use. Some of the lawsuits allege the products caused ovarian cancer. Other lawsuits, like the one in Ney York, allege they cause mesothelioma, a cancer exclusively caused by asbestos exposure.

Many cases allege that J&J has known for decades that its talc was tainted with asbestos and that it tried to cover up that fact. J&J denies that any of its products contain asbestos or that talc could cause ovarian cancer or mesothelioma.

A J&J spokesperson told Bloomberg that the Manhattan case was flawed and that the company planned to appeal.

“Of all the verdicts against Johnson & Johnson that have been through the appellate process, every one has been overturned,” she said in an email.

The cases against J&J’s talc products have led to mixed outcomes, with several high-stakes losses for the company. This case represents the 10th win by plaintiffs. J&J has won seven cases. Three cases resulted in hung juries and four cases settled.

“With this verdict, yet another jury has rejected J&J’s misleading claims that its talc was free of asbestos,” countered the couple’s lawyer in an emailed statement. “The internal J&J documents that the jury saw, once more laid bare the shocking truth of decades of cover-up, deception and concealment by J&J of the asbestos found in talc baby powder.”

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