Johnson & Johnson, a company famous for its iconic baby powder, has come under scrutiny lately amid claims that their talc powder may be linked to cancer. Women who have used the powder for hygienic reasons have reported being diagnosed with various kinds of feminine cancers. Now, there are claims that their talc powders may contain amounts of asbestos, a compound that has been linked to the deadly cancer known as mesothelioma. Recently, a jury decided to give an unprecedented award to a man who says he was given the rare cancer through the use of Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder. Bloomberg reports on the trial and the decision.
Jurors in a state court in New Brunswick, New Jersey concluded on Thursday that Johnson & Johnson and the mining company Imersys SA hid the fact that their talc-based products, including Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder had amounts of asbestos. They also concluded it was these products that contributed to Stephen Lanzo III contracting mesothelioma.
The decision came from a courtroom less than 30 miles from the company’s headquarters. The jury awarded Lanzo $30 million for his pain and suffering. The seven-woman panel deliberated for half a day before reaching the verdict, which also included $7 million for Lanzo’s wife, Kendra for her pain and suffering.
Next week, the jury will decide if the company’s mishandling of the asbestos-containing talc warrants an award of punitive damages as well.
Imerys will appeal the verdict, claiming that the asbestos found in Lanzo’s childhood home and schools caused the cancer, not the talc. Johnson & Johnson stated that they were disappointed by the initial verdict but would withhold further comment until the jury had finished deliberations in the trial.
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