Johnson & Johnson was recently ordered to pay $25 million in compensatory damages to a 66-year-old woman who contracted a rare asbestos-related cancer after decades of using J&J’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower products. Next week, the New York jury will determine whether J&J is also liable for punitive damages in this case.
According to Donna Olson’s deposition, her mother used J&J’s Baby Powder during her daily baths since her birth in 1953 until 1961. At the age of eight, Olson continued using the product on her own and even used the product on her own daughter when she was born in 1991.
In 1995, Olson switched to J&J’s Shower to Shower after daily baths. She finally discontinued using the product after hearing about a possible link to ovarian cancer cases in 2015.
In May 2016, Olson was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma. During her deposition, she recalled repeatedly breathing in J&J talc products that bore no labels warning of potential risks to cancer.
Olson alleges that J&J is directly responsible for causing her cancer and liable for numerous acts of misconduct, including negligence, breach of warranty, civil conspiracy, and fraud.
On Monday, a New York jury ordered J&J to pay at least $25 million in compensatory damages to Olson and her husband. Next week, the jurors will decide whether J&J is also responsible for punitive damages against Olson.
J&J currently faces more than 14,000 cases accusing Johnson & Johnson’s talc-containing products of causing ovarian cancer or mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure. The company has announced that it plans to appeal the court’s decision.
“This trial suffered significant legal and evidentiary errors – one of the most egregious being the demonstrably false testimony from the plaintiff’s central expert,” stated J&J spokeswoman Kim Montagnino.
But according to Judge Manuel Mendez, who is presiding over the trial, Johnson & Johnson placed “corporate profits and reputation over the health and safety of consumers.”
Last year, a New Jersey jury ordered J&J and its talc powder supplier, Imerys Talc America Inc., to pay $117 million in damages to Stephen Lanzo III and his wife. Lanzo was diagnosed with mesothelioma after using J&J’s talc products for years.
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