Johnson & Johnson was hit with a $37 million verdict in a lawsuit that alleged its talcum powder contained asbestos that led to a deadly form of cancer in a New Jersey man.
A jury in the Middlesex County Superior court found that J&J was responsible for 70% of the damages after more than two months of trial. The remaining 30% of the damages, the jury found, were the fault of a unit of Imerys SA, J&J’s France-based talc supplier.
The plaintiff said he was exposed to asbestos after inhaling dust from J&J baby powder between 1972 and 2003, according to court documents. In 2016, he was diagnosed with mesothelioma.
The verdict was delivered on its first full day of deliberation. The jury awarded the plaintiff $30 million and his wife $7 million.
The jurors will now decide whether the company should be held liable for punitive damages.
J&J has denied claims that its Baby Powder contains asbestos or causes cancer. The company said it was “disappointed” with the jury’s verdict.
The verdict is the first trial loss for J&J over claims that its Baby Powder product contains asbestos fibers. The company has also battled other lawsuits that claimed its talcum powder products cause ovarian cancer, another claim J&J denies.
The jury’s verdict comes six months after a jury in Los Angeles Superior Court ruled in favor of J&J.
The company is now facing more than 6,000 lawsuits related to its talcum products. The majority of the lawsuits claim that the powder causes women to develop ovarian cancer.
Over the last two years, juries have found the company liable for ovarian cancer claims five times. Two of the verdicts have been overturned in appeals court.
While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration monitors potential safety issues with cosmetic products, like talcum powder, there are currently no regulations or laws that prohibit talc from containing asbestos.