In a New Jersey case, a jury has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $750 million in punitive damages, which are meant to punish wrongdoing, to four plaintiffs whose cancer has been linked to the use of J&J’s Baby Powder. An earlier jury had found J&J liable for the plaintiffs’ cancers and ordered the company to pay $37.2 million in compensation.
Due to a New Jersey law capping punitive damages at five times the amount of compensatory damages, however, a judge will be forced to reduce the punitive damage award to about $185 million.
J&J is currently facing over 16,000 lawsuits alleging its Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower products, made with talc, were contaminated by asbestos. Talc is a naturally occurring fiber often found in mines right next to asbestos. However, J&J insists none of its talc products have ever contained asbestos.
Asbestos is a known carcinogen with no safe level of exposure. Even in small amounts, it can cause mesothelioma, a deadly lung cancer, and other cancers. In the talc cases, many plaintiffs allege they contracted mesothelioma or ovarian cancer after using the products for various purposes including genital hygiene.
Reuters report accused J&J of a cover-up
In late 2018, Reuters published an investigation showing Johnson & Johnson knew its talc products sometimes contained asbestos and covered it up from regulators. J&J called the story “an absurd conspiracy theory.”
The New Jersey case is not the first case in which a jury found J&J liable for cancers caused by asbestos linked to its talc products. J&J says that it plans to appeal the New Jersey verdict, as it has with other verdicts against it.
If you believe your cancer could have been caused by asbestos, act now
Although Johnson & Johnson continues to deny that its talc products contain asbestos, numerous juries have found otherwise. If you have mesothelioma, ovarian cancer or another cancer and you believe it could be related to your use of talc products, contact an experienced lawyer right away for an evaluation of your case. There are deadlines to file a claim, so you should not wait.