On Wednesday, a New Jersey jury sided with a man who claims that he developed cancer after using Johnson & Johnson baby powder for decades. The man thinks that the asbestos in the product was likely to blame for his condition.
Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay the cancer patient $80 million in damages. Part of the cash will be shelled out by the company’s supplier for the product, Imerys Talc America.
Last week, the jury awarded the plaintiff an extra $37 million as compensatory damages. Adding this week’s punitive damages, the total compensation has climbed to a whopping $117 million.
Stephen Lanzo III, 46, claims that he developed a rare form of cancer, mesothelioma, from the baby powder. It is the first time a court links Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder to mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the lining of stomach, heart, lungs, and other organs.
Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder Is Safe, Company Claims
After the ruling, the company underlined that its baby powder has been in use for over 120 years with no problem. It denied that the products contain asbestos or other ingredients that are not mentioned on the label.
Johnson & Johnson now plans an appeal. A spokesperson said that when the courts will see “the full evidence” the ruling from the lower court will be reversed.
The patient’s lawyers claim that their client developed the rare type of cancer after applying the baby powder on his skin almost every day for three decades. They allege that the manufacturer was aware that the products contain asbestos, but it failed to mention it on the label.
The defense argued that the man grew up in a household where he was exposed to asbestos from other sources like the basement pipes. Also, the schools the man attended allegedly have had an asbestos problem.
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