High Court Upholds Johnson's Baby Powder Cancer Jury Verdict
The decision is the latest in a string of setbacks for the company in its denial that Johnson's Baby Powder has caused cancer
Saturday, November 21, 2020 - A high court upheld the jury verdict that found Johnson & Johnson liable for causing a Brooklyn New York woman and her husband's cancer, according to an article published only hours ago in the New York Post. The New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan confirmed the claim of Donna Olson who had alleged that she had used Johnson's Baby Powder every day for more than fifty years and that she and her husband developed mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of cancer of the most delicate lining of the lungs. The judge reduced the compensatory and punitive damages awarded to the couple on administrative grounds. According to The Post, "The judge approved the lowered payout on Wednesday, court records show. It includes $15 million of compensatory damages and $105 million of punitive damages, down from an original $25 million and $300 million, respectively." It is unlikely that Ms. Olson will live much longer as her disease has reached an advanced stage according to her lawyer the Post reports. Finally, Justice Gerald Lebovits of the state Supreme Court in Manhattan chastised Johnson & Johnson for their willful neglect of their customer's health in the matter. "Lebovits wrote that jurors could find that Johnson & Johnson was for many years "knowingly deceitful about" or "willfully blind to" potential health risks of its talc products, in part to maintain market share and profit." The defendant's attorneys responded with their usual chorus of denial "We deeply sympathize with anyone suffering from cancer, which is why the facts are so important," the company said. "We remain confident that our talc is safe, asbestos-free, and does not cause cancer," according to the Post. This despite the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) having tested and found asbestos in bottles of Johnson's Baby Powder purchased from store shelves. Johnson & Johnson's re-tests of the product claim the asbestos "probably came from an old air conditioner in the room."
The Manhattan Supreme Court decision comes in the wake of a string of devastating losses for Johnson & Johnson regarding the health hazards of their flagship baby care product. The Missouri Supreme Court has upheld a 2019 talcum powder cancer verdict and awarded 22 other plaintiffs with a similar claim the sum of $2.1 billion. Johnson & Johnson recently settled out of court with 1000 plaintiffs for $100 million over their claims of developing ovarian cancer from using the product.
The company faces more than 20,000 lawsuits re-starting again in 2021 that alleged that using Johnson's Baby Powder for feminine hygiene cause the plaintiff to develop ovarian cancer. Others are suing over allegedly developing mesothelioma from inhaling talc dust contaminated with asbestos while using the product as directed. Johnson's Baby Powder and Shower to Shower products have been mass-marketed to consumers for over 50 years for their properties of promoting dryness and deodorant. Investigators at Reuters claim that the company "...knew for decades that asbestos lurked in its Baby Powder."