Whopping $37 Million Verdict in Johnson & Johnson Asbestos Suit

After more than two months of trial, a jury in Middlesex County, New Jersey found in favor of plaintiff Stephen Lanzo in his asbestos-related case again consumer products company Johnson & Johnson (J&J). The court awarded Lanzo, who claims to have developed mesothelioma due to exposure to asbestos in the company’s talcum powder, $37 million in damages.
The jury’s verdict was decided upon quite quickly. After just one full day of deliberations, they chose to award $30 million to Lanzo and an additional $7 million to his wife. J&J will be responsible for 70 percent of those amounts while talc supplier, France-based Imerys SA, will be held liable for the other 30 percent, stated an article in USA Today.
Lanzo’s attorneys explained that the New Jersey man used J&J baby powder from 1972 until approximately 2003. During that time, they opined that he inhaled asbestos-tainted talc from that powder, which caused him to develop mesothelioma in 2016. He is currently receiving treatment for the disease, which is one of the deadliest forms of cancer.
Obviously, the jury agreed with the theory and concurred with the opinions of the doctors, scientists, and other expert witnesses that testified on Lanzo’s behalf. The jury’s award also means they likely concur with evidence that J&J knew the talc in their powders was contaminated with asbestos yet did nothing to rectify that situation.
The jurors in this case are scheduled to reconvene early this week to decide whether to award punitive damages to the Lanzos. They hope to have a decision by Wednesday or Thursday.
In the meantime, a corporate statement released by Johnson & Johnson said the company was “disappointed” with the verdict and would reserve further comment until the jury finishes all deliberations and “the case is fully completed.”
This trial, which took place just minutes from J&J’s New Jersey headquarters, marks the first defeat for the company in a lawsuit that claims its talc products contain asbestos. Johnson & Johnson emerged victorious in a similar case tried last year.
However, the company has lost several cases forged by women who claim to have developed ovarian cancer due to asbestos-tainted talc in J&J powders as well as those produced by Colgate-Palmolive and Proctor & Gamble.