Judge upholds $117m verdict against Johnson & Johnson, Imerys over asbestos-tainted baby powder

by Eric Pearson

A New Jersey judge has upheld a $117 million verdict against Johnson & Johnson and Imerys Talc America over allegations that talcum-based baby powder produced by these companies are contaminated with asbestos. In April, J&J and Imerys were ordered to pay $37 million in compensatory damages plus $80 million in punitive damages to a man who was diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer after using Johnson’s Baby Powder and other talcum powder products.

According to the lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson and Imerys, plaintiff Stephen Lanzo used talc products sold by the pharmaceutical giant between 1972 and 2003. Lanzo was later diagnosed with mesothelioma, a deadly form of cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos.

Lanzo filed a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson and Imerys, the company which mined the talc used in J&J’s talcum powder products. The lawsuit alleged that Johnson’s Baby Powder, Shower to Shower, and other talc brands marketed by J&J were contaminated with asbestos, and that the company’s testing methods were not precise enough to detect whether contamination had occurred.

Following a two month trial, jurors awarded Lanzo and his wife $37 million in total compensatory damages. The jury also ordered J&J and Imerys to pay $55 million and $25 million, respectively, in punitive damages.

Johnson & Johnson and Imerys Challenge the Verdict

Johnson & Johnson and Imerys asked the trial court to set aside the jury’s verdict, arguing that Lanzo failed to prove that had been exposed to asbestos through Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products, and that he failed to provide convincing evidence about the frequency of his asbestos exposure.

Attorneys for Lanzo countered that their expert witnesses had provided compelling evidence both that Johnson & Johnson’s talc products were contaminated with asbestos, and that this exposure was a substantial factor in his mesothelioma diagnosis. Lanzo’s attorneys also argued that Johnson & Johnson’s asbestos testing procedures were not precise enough to determine whether its talc brands were contaminated with asbestos.

Superior Court Judge Ana C. Viscomi denied the two companies’ motions to set aside the $117 million verdict. Johnson & Johnson still faces thousands of other lawsuits over allegations that its baby powder caused ovarian cancer or mesothelioma.

Talcum Powder Lawsuits Filed by Heygood, Orr & Pearson

If you or a loved one used talcum baby powder products such as Johnson’s Baby Powder or Shower to Shower and were diagnosed with ovarian cancer or mesothelioma, you may qualify to file a lawsuit. The first step in taking legal action is to speak with an attorney who can advise you regarding your legal rights and guide you through the first steps in filing a case.

Heygood, Orr & Pearson is currently represent more than 100 women who were diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using talcum powder. Our lawyers have filed claims on behalf of our clients in state and federal courts across the country.

For more information about filing a talcum powder lawsuit and to find out if you qualify to file a case, contact the lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001. You can also reach us by following the link to our free case evaluation form and answering a few brief questions to get started.

by Eric Pearson

Eric Pearson is a licensed attorney and a partner at HO&P who handles commercial and personal injury lawsuits. Eric has been selected to the Super Lawyers List, a Thomson Reuters publication.