$80 Million in Punitive Damages Against J&J in Asbestos Talc Case

Mesothelioma JJ Verdict

April 11, 2018. Johnson & Johnson and its talc supplier, Imerys Talc America LLC, were hit with combined punitive damages of $80 million. This comes just after the jury awarded Plaintiffs Stephen Lanzo III and his wife $37 million in compensatory damages.

A New Jersey state jury determined that the companies acted with “reckless indifference in selling asbestos containing talcum powder” that contributed to Lanzo’s development of mesothelioma, a cancer of the lung.

Damages Awarded to the Lanzos

On April 5, 2018, the jury first awarded $37 million in compensatory damages to the Lanzos, with $30 million to Stephen and $7 million to his wife. 70% of the verdict went against J&J with the talc supplier given the remaining 30%.

In addition, punitive damages in the amount of $80 million have now been awarded to the Plaintiffs, $55 million against Johnson & Johnson and $35 million against Imerys.

The Issue: Does Talc Contribute to Mesothelioma?

Plaintiffs Lanzo and his wife alleged that his being exposed over decades to J&J’s talcum powder products contributed to his developing mesothelioma.

After more than two months, jurors agreed, finding that the company’s products, including its baby powder, contained asbestos and that Lanzo’s continued exposure to this mineral in products from 1972 to 2003 played a “substantial role in his contracting the deadly disease.”

The additional punitive damages were awarded because the jury felt the companies acted in wanton and willful disregard of the rights of the Plaintiffs.

Trial attorney Moshe Maimon of Levy Konigsberg LLP was quoted as saying, “This is a historic verdict.”

The message jurors in this case seem to be sending Johnson & Johnson is to stop selling baby powder that contains talc.

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