We wrote an article last year discussing what was then a new, bombshell report about how consumer goods giant Johnson & Johnson knew that its famous baby powder was made using talc contaminated with cancer-causing asbestos.
Fast-forward to the first few months of 2020 and we’re seeing more J&J mesothelioma lawsuits moving through courts around the country. One of the more notable recent verdicts is the $750 million punitive damages award handed down in February by a New Jersey jury in a case involving four plaintiffs who developed mesothelioma after years of using J&J baby powder.
The first phase of the trial ended in the fall of 2019 with a different jury awarding the four plaintiffs a total of $37.2 million in compensatory damages. The headline-grabbing $750 million amount came during the punitive damages phase in early 2020.
Due to a New Jersey state law that limits punitive damages to five times the amount of compensatory damages, the verdict will be reduced to around $185 million, according to a lawyer for the plaintiffs.
Johnson & Johnson, for its part, has said it plans to appeal the result.
Johnson & Johnson Settles Mid-Trial in California
In another case—this time out of California—Johnson & Johnson made the unusual move of settling during the middle of the trial. The January 2020 trial was more than two weeks in when J&J decided to offer the plaintiff, Linda O’Hagan, an undisclosed amount to settle the case. She accepted, and the trial came to an end.
Meanwhile, there are more than 17,000 mesothelioma lawsuits against J&J still pending in courts all over the U.S. The company has steadily denied that its talc contains asbestos.
However, Johnson & Johnson’s CEO, Alex Gorsky, testified in the New Jersey case, the first time he stepped foot in court in a talc-related lawsuit. He testified that he no longer believes his company was correct to say its talc mines and talc products were entirely asbestos-free.
The J&J asbestos litigation has been a mixed bag of results. Some juries have found in favor of plaintiffs and awarded billions in damages, while juries in other cases have found no fault whatsoever with J&J’s talc.
Mesothelioma Due to Asbestos Exposure? Call Us Today.
Ted B. Lyon & Associates is one of Texas’ leading law firms in the field of mesothelioma litigation. If you or a loved one has developed mesothelioma, you may be entitled to compensation. Our experienced lawyers would be pleased to meet you and discuss how we can help.