A jury in New Jersey recently awarded $117 million ($37 million in compensatory damages and $80 million in punitive damages) to a consumer who developed mesothelioma as a result of his regular use of Johnson & Johnson’s talc baby powder products. The jury apportioned 70% of the fault to J &J while the other 30% was assigned to Imerys Talc America, J&J’s talc supplier.
The plaintiff sued for design defect, failure to warn, negligent failure to warn, negligent supply of a defective product, breach of express and implied warranties, and strict liability in tort. The jury found that the risk of harm posed by the talc powder outweighed the usefulness of the product. In awarding punitive damages, the jury found that J&J and Imerys willfully, wantonly, and intentionally withheld information from consumers regarding the known hazards of talc containing asbestos and that inhaling asbestos may be deadly.
Although Johnson & Johnson faces thousands of plaintiffs nationally in talc powder-related lawsuits, the overwhelming majority of these cases claim that Johnson & Johnson failed to warn women about the risk of developing ovarian cancer from using the talc powder. Last November, a California jury ruled in favor of Johnson & Johnson in the only other asbestos-related trial against the company, making this the first trial loss for Johnson & Johnson in lawsuits alleging that asbestos in J&J Talc powder caused consumers harm.
J&J and Imerys plan to appeal the verdict, claiming the evidence shows that the plaintiff’s mesothelioma was caused by exposure to other sources of asbestos. As of late, Johnson & Johnson has succeeded in reversing multi-million-dollar verdicts in a few ovarian cancer-related lawsuits.
Corporations like Johnson & Johnson must be held accountable for the harm caused by the defective products they introduce to consumers. The attorneys at Abramson, Brown & Dugan have vast experience representing plaintiffs in various product liability lawsuits. One of our attorneys, Jared Green, is a leading attorney in this area of law and was recently named Best Lawyer in products liability law. If you or a loved one have been harmed by a defective product or because a product failed to provide adequate warnings, contact one of our attorneys today for a free consultation.
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