Johnson & Johnson, Imerys to Pay $80M in Punitive Damages in NJ Lawsuit

Last week, a jury ruled that Johnson & Johnson should pay $37 million to a New Jersey man who says exposure to the company’s Baby Powder led to the development of mesothelioma.

At the time of the ruling last week, punitive damages had yet to be determined.

The jury in a New Jersey state court has now ruled that Johnson & Johnson and Imerys, the company’s talc supplier, must pay $80 million in punitive damages.

A total of $117 million has been awarded in the case.

The case is the first trial loss for J&J over claims that its talc products contain asbestos. A Los Angeles court last year ruled in favor of the company in its first talcum powder-related case.

Johnson & Johnson has been ordered to pay $55 million in punitive damages, while Imerys is responsible for paying the remaining $25 million.

Regarding compensatory damages, the jury found Johnson & Johnson to be 70% liable ($25.9 million) and Imerys to be 30% liable ($11.1 million).

Johnson & Johnson continues to deny claims that its talc-based products ever contained asbestos.

The company claimed during the trial that it conducted extensive testing to ensure its products were asbestos-free. Talcum powder is made from talc, which forms alongside asbestos.

In a statement, Johnson & Johnson said it would immediately begin appealing the verdict. The company said it had been prevented from presenting substantial evidence to the jury.

Imerys also stated that it would appeal the decision and that they stand behind the safety of its products. “The evidence is clear that (Lanzo’s) asbestos exposure came from different sources,” Imerys said.

Johnson & Johnson faces more than 6,600 lawsuits related to its talc powder products. Most lawsuits allege that the company failed to warn women about the risk of developing ovarian cancer when using its products for feminine hygiene.