J&J Promises to Challenge $18.8 Million Judgement Against it in Talc Case Against Pericardial Mesothelioma Victim

For purposes of this article, the plaintiff in this case will be referred to as A.H.V.

Johnson & Johnson, the famous American corporation, has been sued by tens of thousands of people for its talc-based products. According to claimants, the company’s baby powder and other talc products sometimes contained asbestos. Asbestos is a dangerous substance that can cause mesothelioma and other fatal illnesses. Most litigation has been halted during bankruptcy proceedings, but J&J faced a setback after a recent ruling. Recently, a California jury decided that a particular plaintiff who filed their case against J&J in 2022 is entitled to $18.8 million for his medical expenses and pain and suffering. This is a lot of money for a company seeking to settle thousands of similar claims. The case proceeded after the U.S. Chief Bankruptcy Judge overseeing J&J’s subsidiary LTL Management’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy allowed it to proceed. The case was allowed to proceed mainly because the plaintiff’s mesothelioma is extremely rare. This makes his case different from most of the other pending cases against J&J.

The plaintiff in this case, A.H.V., filed his legal claim in 2022 after being diagnosed with a rare kind of mesothelioma. A.H.V. said that he developed mesothelioma in the tissue around his heart. This kind of mesothelioma is called pericardial mesothelioma.  Research suggests that approximately 350 cases of this form of mesothelioma have ever been reported. According to the plaintiff, he developed pericardial mesothelioma because of the prolonged use of Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder as a child.

The jury listened to the plaintiff’s testimony in June. The jury also heard testimony from the plaintiff’s mother. According to the mother, she used a lot of J&J’s baby powder on her son when he was a child and throughout his childhood. According to the lawsuit, if a warning had been issued that J&J’s talc contained asbestos, A.H.V. would have avoided the talc, thus pericardial mesothelioma.

After listening to the case, the jury ruled in favor of A.H.V. The jury awarded A.H.V., who is only 24 years old, $18.8 million in compensatory damages. According to the jury, the plaintiff was entitled to compensation for medical bills and pain and suffering. However, A.H.V. was not awarded punitive damages. Additionally, A.H.V. will not be able to collect his money anytime soon because of the bankruptcy order freezing most of the litigation over the defendant’s talc.

Johnson & Johnson was not pleased with the ruling and vowed, through its vice president of litigation, to appeal the verdict. According to the company’s vice president of litigation, the judgment is erroneous. According to Johnson & Johnson, the ruling prevented the company from presenting facts showing A.H.V. did not develop his illness because of the company’s products. J&J’s vice president of litigation said that without that evidence, the ruling is incompatible with the decades of independent scientific assessments demonstrating the safety of the company’s baby powder.

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