J&J fights punitive damages in talc mesothelioma case

11 Apr 2018 by under Legal

640px Talc mutnikSVK01 100x100 J&J fights punitive damages in talc mesothelioma caseJohnson & Johnson is fighting to skirt punitive damages in a lawsuit alleging the company’s talcum powder products contain asbestos and caused a man to develop the rare and deadly form of lung cancer called malignant .

Last week, a New Jersey state jury slapped Johnson & Johnson and its talc supplier Inc. with $37 million in compensatory damages in a trial involving the case of Stephen Lanzo III and his wife. Lanza claimed that he used the consumer health care giant’s talc-containing products, like Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower, regularly for decades. He alleged the company knew that its talcum powder contained the carcinogenic fibrous mineral asbestos, but failed to warn consumers. As a result, his regular and long-term use of the products caused him to develop mesothelioma.

Jurors awarded compensatory damages of $30 million to Lanzo and $7 million to his wife, Kendra. The company found Johnson & Johnson was responsible for 70 percent of the damages and Imerys for the remaining 30 percent.

Johnson & Johnson’s attorneys argued during closing arguments in the punitive damages phase of the trial that there is no proof that the company set out to “hurt people.” And thus, Lanzo had no room to ask for punitive damages. Johnson & Johnson also claimed that the talc it used tested free of asbestos. But Lanzo’s attorneys charged that Johnson & Johnson was aware that the tests it was using was too lax to pick up on the asbestos in the talc.

Lanzo’s attorneys are set to deliver their closing arguments this week.

Source: Law360

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