Johnson & Johnson and a talc mining company must pay at least $37 million to an investment banker who blamed the companies’ products for causing him to develop a deadly cancer linked to asbestos.
Jurors in state court in New Brunswick, New Jersey concluded Thursday J&J and Imerys SA hid that their talc-based products, including J&J’s iconic baby powder, had been tainted by asbestos and helped cause Stephen Lanzo III’s disease. The jury will also weigh next week whether the companies’ mishandling of the talc warrants an award of punitive damages.
The verdict is the first time a jury has backed a consumer’s claims that the company’s baby powder causes mesothelioma, an often-fatal cancer linked to asbestos. About 6,600 women have sued the world’s largest health-care company blaming the powder for causing their ovarian cancers.
“While we are disappointed with this decision, the jury has further deliberations to conduct in this trial and we will reserve additional comment until the case is fully completed,” Carol Goodrich, a J&J spokeswoman, said in an email.
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