Four mesothelioma patients won a nine-figure verdict ($750 million) last week against Johnson & Johnson, the manufacturer of a popular baby powder that can be polluted with asbestos.
The plaintiffs claim they developed mesothelioma due to childhood exposure to asbestos. They said their parents used Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower products on them.
The plaintiffs assert that the use resulted in regular long-term subjection to asbestos, which is the only proven cause of mesothelioma. Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder is a popular item for the brand, as is the Shower to Shower body powder. Both are connected to asbestos contamination and at the heart of many other mesothelioma lawsuits.
If you have mesothelioma and at any point in the past used Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder or Shower to Shower, you could have a legal claim against the company.
Our patient advocate, Karen Ritter, can help you find an experienced mesothelioma lawyer to represent you and help receive compensation for your unfortunate diagnosis. Please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Specifics of the Verdict
A New Jersey jury delivered the verdict, which was originally $750 million in punitive damages. It’ll lower to around $185 million due to a New Jersey state law that limits the punitive damages in a case to five times the compensatory damages. Earlier in the case process, a jury awarded the patients around $37 million in mesothelioma compensation.
Punitive damages is a legal term that courts apply to punish the at-fault defendant in a case. Punitive damages also deter the defendant and other similar defendants — in this case, manufacturers of talc-based products — from committing the same errors in the future.
Compensatory damages is another legal term that applies to money the plaintiff receives in a case. In mesothelioma lawsuits, compensatory damages are awarded to the patient to compensate for several burdens. These include:
- Paying for medical treatment
- Hiring legal representation
- Lost wages due to deteriorating health
- Pain and suffering
Why Johnson & Johnson Faces Mesothelioma Lawsuits
Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder is a talc-based item. So, too, is the Shower to Shower body powder product.
Talc is a mineral that companies implement in health and beauty products, such as ones used for skincare. The company grinds talc into a powder, which is called talcum powder.
However, talc exists in the earth’s soil close to asbestos. The two minerals often mix together when mined, and talc that is turned into powder may include hazardous sharp asbestos fibers.
These fragments of asbestos can enter the body, travel into the linings around either the lungs or abdomen and lodge into cells, which then irritate and duplicate uncontrollably. This mutation is how mesothelioma forms.
Johnson & Johnson’s History of Mesothelioma Claims
Johnson & Johnson intends to appeal both verdicts — the one for compensatory damages and the one for punitive damages — to avoid paying the four patients. The company’s officials claim their products do not include asbestos and are not causing people to develop mesothelioma.
At this point, the officials have had quite a lot of practice towing the company line.
The company still faces around 16,000 claims related to mesothelioma. All of the legal troubles hit overdrive in 2018 when a Reuters report claimed Johnson & Johnson higher-ups knew its talc products were tainted with asbestos.
Since then, Johnson & Johnson:
- Has been the subject of a criminal investigation
- Was sued by the state of New Mexico
- Lost numerous multi-million-dollar verdicts to patients
- Recalled 33,000 bottles of its baby powder due to fears of asbestos contamination
- Jury Orders J&J to Pay $750 Million for Talc Case Punishment. Bloomberg. Retrieved from: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-02-06/j-j-ordered-to-pay-750-million-in-punitive-damages-over-talc. Accessed: 02/10/2020.
- Johnson & Johnson Sued Over Baby Powder by New Mexico. New York Times. Retrieved from: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/03/business/johnson-johnson-baby-powder-new-mexico-suit.html. Accessed: 01/06/2020.
- Johnson & Johnson knew for decades that asbestos lurked in its Baby Powder. Reuters. Retrieved from: https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/johnsonandjohnson-cancer/. Accessed: 03/17/19.
- J&J Denials of Asbestos in Baby Powder Spur Criminal Probe. Bloomberg. Retrieved from: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-07-12/j-j-denials-of-asbestos-in-baby-powder-spur-u-s-criminal-probe. Accessed: 07/15/19.
- Johnson & Johnson ordered to pay $300 million in talc cancer case. The Hill. Retrieved from: https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/446381-johnson-johnson-ordered-to-pay-300-million-in-talc-cancer-case. Accessed: 06/03/19.
- Johnson & Johnson Recalls Asbestos-Tainted Baby Powder. The New York Times. Retrieved from: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/18/business/johnson-johnson-baby-powder-recall.html. Accessed: 10/18/19.
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