A jury in New York this week awarded $25 million in damages to a 66 year old woman who blamed her baby powder product for her pleural mesothelioma. Donna Olson and her husband filed the personal injury lawsuit in 2017. She stated in the lawsuit that she used Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder and scented Shower to Shower product since she was eight years old in 1953 until 2015. She was diagnosed with mesothelioma that year. (mesothelioma.net)
Jury May Add Compensation for Punitive Damages
The $25 million that the company was ordered to pay Olson could be just the beginning. The lawsuit accused Johnson & Johnson of putting its profits and reputation over the safety and health of the American consumer. So, now the jury will go beyond determining what the economic damages are that the couple suffered and will decide about possible financial punishment the company may face.
J&J Now Facing 14,000 More Asbestos Lawsuits
Johnson & Johnson and other companies that make talc-based powder products are facing thousands of lawsuits that blame them for ovarian cancer and malignant mesothelioma cancer that is being diagnosed in people who used their products for many years. These personal injury lawsuits are based on strong evidence that the talc used in the products may have been contaminated with asbestos. The lawsuits maintain the companies were aware of the possible danger to consumers and did not warn them of its presence in the products.
The companies routinely deny such claims, but testimony that was submitted during the above and other trials have shown many internal memos that refer to the dangers of asbestos and what the companies should do about it. These companies also have been proven as well to make efforts to affect FDA regulations about asbestos and the levels that are acceptable in various consumer products.
Olson’s lawsuit is the fourth that a jury has given a multimillion dollar award to a victim of mesothelioma. There are many others pending as more and more people are realizing their fatal disease may have been caused by baby powder.
Company Plans to Appeal
According to a company spokeswoman, J&J is going to appeal. The company stated in a press release that the New York trial had many legal and evidentiary errors, and one of the worst was the ‘demonstrably false testimony from the plaintiff’s central expert.’ (Bloomberg.com)
J&J contends that William Longo, a scientist who testifies for many plaintiffs in talc cancer cases, has lied in other trials about where he got talc samples in which he claims to have found asbestos traces. Longo was allowed to testify in this trial by the district judge.
The verdict is win #10 for talc plaintiffs since trials over claims of cancer being tied to J&J’s products started in 2016. J&J has been the victor in seven defense verdicts while jurors had hung juries in three of the cases. J&J also settled four cases. Some of the verdicts for the plaintiffs have been overturned while others are still being appealed.
Olson is a former resident of Manhattan who now resides in Delaware. She told the court she used baby powder on herself until she was married in 1984. She said the product created a cloud when she put it on and she breathed in the talc particles.
Overview of Mesothelioma Personal Injury Lawsuits
The New York case illustrates how productive it can be to file a personal injury lawsuit if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma and it is proven to be due to asbestos exposure from a specific company’s products.
To file a successful personal injury lawsuit for mesothelioma, the following points must be proven:
- Points of exposure being known: For damages to be awarded, it has to be pinpointed where and when the exposure to asbestos occurred. If you hire a mesothelioma attorney, he will be able to access research resources to determine when and where you could have been exposed to asbestos on the job.
- Negligence: The personal injury claim has to show the company was aware that its product contained asbestos and did not provide any warning to consumers.
- Diagnosis: You have to have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and show that you have been affected in a negative way by the disease.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you must know that it almost always is due to exposure to asbestos. Many corporations that made products that contain asbestos knew about the many dangers of asbestos exposure but kept selling and using the products without warning consumers or workers. The motive always comes down to money. Asbestos is cheap to use and process. But many workers and consumers over the years have paid the price and been diagnosed with mesothelioma, one of the most painful and deadly cancers.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or ovarian cancer and think it is due to asbestos exposure, it is important to talk to a qualified attorney today.
- Johnson & Johnson Loses $25 Million New York Talc Verdict. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-05-21/johnson-johnson-loses-25-million-new-york-talc-verdict
- Jury Orders Johnson & Johnson to Pay $25 Million to Woman With Malignant Mesothelioma. (2019). Retrieved from https://mesothelioma.net/mesothelioma-news/jury-orders-j-j-to-pay-25-million-to-woman-with-malignant-mesothelioma/