Just months after a New Jersey jury awarded $37 million in compensatory damages to several victims of asbestos exposure from Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder, the second phase of the hearing ended with a second jury ordering the company to pay $750 million in punitive damages.
New Jersey state law limits punitive damages, so the original amount will be reduced to approximately $186 million, but the verdict still sends a powerful message to both mesothelioma victims and the companies that are responsible for their asbestos exposure. In this particular case, the company is accused of knowing that their talc-based product was contaminated with asbestos and failing to take action or provide a warning to the public about the dangers that it presented.
Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder Blamed in Thousands of Mesothelioma Lawsuits
There are over 16,000 pending mesothelioma and ovarian cancer lawsuits accusing Johnson & Johnson of negligence for failing to warn about the presence of asbestos in their talc-based products. Though the company continues to deny that its product has ever contained asbestos, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports having identified the carcinogen in a bottle of the product that was purchased online as recently as 2018.
The mesothelioma lawsuit that was filed in New Jersey was split into two separate phases: a compensatory damages phase and a punitive damages phase that specifically asked the jury to punish the company for recklessly endangering so many people’s lives and health. Much of the evidence presented in the punitive damages portion of the case involved internal documents that pointed to company executives’ concerns about asbestos, as well as indications that the company had purposely steered the FDA and internal testing of the product in a way that would ensure that they passed all safety tests.