A New York City jury recently handed down a substantial verdict to a woman who blamed the maker of the talc-based cosmetics powder for her cancer diagnosis, claiming that the company knew for decades about the risk of asbestos exposure but provided no warning to her and other consumers about the dangers. The Manhattan jury awarded the plaintiffs, the victim and her husband, $325 million in actual and punitive damages, finding that defendant Johnson & Johnson acted with negligence and recklessness by knowingly selling a carcinogenic product to the public.
The $325 million awarded consisted of $25 million in actual damages of medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, as well as a tremendous $300 million in punitive damages for what the jury deemed to be especially reckless conduct on the part of Johnson & Johnson. However, the judge hearing the case ultimately cut the jury’s award down to $15 million in actual damages and $105 million in punitive damages but gave the plaintiffs the option of requesting a new trial solely for the damages portion of the case. Ultimately, the plaintiffs opted to accept the reduced award.
The asbestos cancer lawsuit alleged that the plaintiff developed mesothelioma cancer from years of using asbestos-contaminated Baby Powder manufactured and sold by pharmaceutical and cosmetics giant Johnson & Johnson. The plaintiff filed her lawsuit back in 2017 after receiving her mesothelioma diagnosis, which is a rare and deadly form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos and commonly affects the thin linings of tissue surrounding vital organs such as the heart and lungs and abdominal cavity.
In her lawsuit, the plaintiff argued that Johnson & Johnson knew for years about possible asbestos contamination in its talc-based products like Baby Powder and Shower to Shower but provided no warnings to consumers about the possible health risks. In awarding the plaintiff punitive damages, the jury found that Johnson & Johnson “willfully or recklessly committed egregious and extraordinary wrongdoing” by selling asbestos-contaminated consumer products.
Both talc and asbestos are naturally occurring minerals that can be found in deposits side by side one another. If companies that mine and process talc do not exercise caution and take necessary safety protocols to ensure there is no cross contamination, innocent consumers can be put at risk for developing conditions such as mesothelioma and other forms of cancer. Currently Johnson & Johnson faces an estimated 20,000 lawsuits in state and federal courts alleging that plaintiffs developed mesothelioma and other diseases from using talc-based products that the company knew would pose serious health risks to consumers.
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If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help pay for your medical treatment to help you and your family live a more comfortable life.