Bad News Continues for J&J in Asbestos Case

Johnson and Johnson Talc Baby Powder is still sold today…

Johnson & Johnson and Imerys Talc America, a unit of Imerys SA, must pay an additional $80 million in
punitive damages to a New Jersey man who was found to have developed mesothelioma due to his
extended use of J&J’s long-manufactured Baby Powder, a New Jersey state court ruled yesterday. This
decision comes shortly after the two companies were ordered last week to pay $37 million in
compensatory damages to Stephen Lanzo, who was diagnosed with the asbestos-related cancer in 2016.
Specifically, Johnson & Johnson has now been ordered to pay an additional $55 million and the Imerys
unit $25 million of the punitive damages award, which will go to Lanzo and his wife, Kendra, reports an
article in Reuters.
Lanzo claims to have developed mesothelioma after inhaling dust that circulated as a result of his talcum
powder use, the suit stated. The plaintiff says he was exposed to J&J’s powder from his birth in 1972
through approximately 2003. Apparently, he used the product almost daily and was likely to have
inhaled plenty of dust from the container, which is a shaker-type can with small holes in the top. There
is no indication as to why he ceased using the product in 2003.
Nonetheless, Johnson & Johnson still maintains that there is and never was any asbestos in the talc used
in its powders and they have indicated that they have begun to compile the documents needed to
appeal the verdict, which represents the first loss for the company in a mesothelioma-related case.
“After suffering multiple losses through court rulings and at trial, plaintiff’s attorneys have shifted their
strategy and are now alleging that talcum powder is contaminated with asbestos,” the company said,
added that they had been prevented from presenting important evidence to the jury.
Imerys Talc America also stated in a press release that they plan to appeal, saying: “The evidence is clear
that (Lanzo’s) asbestos exposure came from different sources.”
J&J, based in New Jersey, faces talc-related lawsuits by 6,610 plaintiffs nationally, largely based on
claims it failed to warn women about the risk of developing ovarian cancer by using its products for
feminine hygiene, reports Reuters. They have been the victors in some of the cases already tried and
have lost others. In a few cases, judges have overturned verdicts and found in the company’s favor.