J&J hit with $750M damage award in NJ baby powder case

A New Jersey jury awarded $750 million in punitive damages Feb. 6 to four people who sued Johnson & Johnson, claiming they got cancer from the company's baby powder products, The Wall Street Journal reported. 

The plaintiffs argued that J&J's baby power products contained asbestos and the company didn't sufficiently warn consumers of the risk. 

The jury decided that J&J's conduct was "either malicious or in wanton disregard of plaintiff's rights," the Journal reported. 

About 16,800 people have filed lawsuits against J&J in state and federal courts alleging the talcum-based powders caused either ovarian cancer or mesothelioma and that J&J didn't warn consumers of the risk.

The New Jersey trial was the first time J&J CEO Alex Gorsky testified in a courtroom in litigation involving the company's baby powder products. He said 40 years of independent tests have confirmed the baby powder is safe, doesn't contain asbestos and doesn't cause cancer. 

J&J told the Journal it plans to appeal and that the trial had "numerous legal errors that subjected the jury to irrelevant information and prevented them from hearing meaningful evidence."

Though the jury awarded the plaintiffs $750 million, the judge, Ana Viscomi, stating state law, said she plans to reduce the amount to $186.5 million, according to the Journal.

Read the full article here.

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