A California jury recently awarded a plaintiff $4 million in punitive damages after determining that pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson acted with malice when it produced and sold talcum powder products contaminated with deadly asbestos fibers. The punitive damages award comes just days after the same jury handed down a substantial $21.7 million in compensatory damages in a case which is Johnson & Johnson's second trial loss in as many months.
The 68-year-old plaintiff in the case claimed she developed mesothelioma cancer as a result of decades of using talc-based products sold by Johnson & Johnson. While Johnson & Johnson has denied any liability in the case, the company faces thousands of other lawsuits across the country brought by victims claiming they developed mesothelioma, ovarian cancer, and other cancers after using talcum powder products.
Mesothelioma is a rare and deadly form of cancer that commonly affects the thin linings of tissue surrounding vital organs like the lungs, abdomen, and heart. Due to the latency period of the disease, many asbestos cancer victims do not show symptoms for 20 to 50 years, which leaves them with diminished treatment options. Even though medical science continues to make progress every day with treatments, there is still no definitive cure for a mesothelioma diagnosis.
In addition to filing her asbestos cancer lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson, the victim and her husband named Imerys SA, Cyprus Amax Minerals, a unit of Brenntag, Honeywell International and other talc suppliers as defendants, but held that Johnson & Johnson was responsible for two-thirds of the plaintiff's harm. In April 2018, a Middlesex County, New Jersey Superior Court jury ordered Imerys Talc America and Johnson & Johnson to pay the plaintiffs in a mesothelioma talcum powder cancer lawsuit $37 million, holding Johnson and Johnson 70% responsible and Imerys 30% responsible.
Although talc does not contain asbestos itself, the two minerals are often found in natural deposits side by side, which can cause contamination. Despite Congress passing laws decades ago holding that talc products must be asbestos-free, juries across the country have held that many companies like Johnson & Johnson continue to produce asbestos-contaminated cosmetics products that put the public at risk.
While no amount of money can undo a mesothelioma diagnosis, filing a lawsuit against asbestos companies can hold wrongdoers accountable for their indifference to public safe as well as recover much needed compensation for lost wages and medical bills. Even in cases in which the victim has passed away due to his or her illness, survivors may be able to continue the lawsuit on their behalf and continue the fight in a court of law.
Arizona Mesothelioma Lawyer
If you or a loved one was diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced Arizona mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help pay for your medical treatment to help you and your family live a more comfortable life.