Johnson & Johnson told by jury to pay US$300 million more in talc-cancer case

A screen shows the logo for Johnson and Johnson on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
A screen shows the logo for Johnson and Johnson on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

NEW YORK (BLOOMBERG) - Johnson & Johnson was ordered by a jury to pay US$300 million (S$400 million) in punitive damages to a woman who blamed her rare asbestos-related cancer on decades of daily use of the company's talc-based products.

The ruling brings to US$325 million the amount the state-court jury in Manhattan said J&J should pay Donna Olson and her husband over her cancer that she blamed on J&J's baby powder and its former Shower-to-Shower product.

The total verdict is one of the highest in more than two years of litigation over J&J talc products.

Kim Montagnino, a J&J spokeswoman, said the company would appeal the jury's findings because it believes the trial was flawed.

"Of all the verdicts against Johnson & Johnson that have been through the appellate process, every one has been overturned," she said in an emailed statement.

J&J faces more than 14,000 claims that its powders caused ovarian cancer and mesothelioma, a rare cancer linked to asbestos exposure.

The company denies its products ever contained the carcinogen and argues talc does not cause the life-threatening illnesses.

 
 

Olson has mesothelioma in her lungs, according to court filings.

"With this verdict, yet another jury has rejected J&J's misleading claims that its talc was free of asbestos," Jerome Block, the couple's lawyer said in an emailed statement.

"The internal J&J documents that the jury saw, once more laid bare the shocking truth of decades of cover-up, deception and concealment by J&J of the asbestos found in talc baby powder."