Johnson & Johnson was ordered by a New York State judge to pay $ 120 million in damages to a Brooklyn woman and her husband after blaming her cancer on asbestos exposure in using the company’s baby powder.
Manhattan State Supreme Court Justice Gerald Lebovits reduced payment of the $ 325 million jury awarded to Donna Olson, 67, and Robert Olson, 65, in May 2019 after a trial 14 weeks.
While upholding the jury’s finding of liability, Lebovits wrote on Nov. 11 that the damages were too high and that the Olsons could either accept $ 120 million or have a new trial over the damages.
The judge approved the reduced payment on Wednesday, according to court records. It includes $ 15 million in compensatory damages and $ 105 million in punitive damages, compared to $ 25 million and $ 300 million, respectively.
Johnson & Johnson said it would appeal the verdict, citing “significant legal and evidentiary errors” at the trial.
“We deeply sympathize with anyone with cancer, which is why facts are so important,” the company said. “We remain convinced that our talc is safe, asbestos-free and does not cause cancer.”
Jerome Block, a lawyer for the Olsons, said he was happy with the outcome and confident he would stand.
He also said that Donna Olson’s mesothelioma “is at an advanced stage, and we hope for the best.”
Donna Olson had testified that she had used Johnson’s baby powder or shower on a daily basis for over 50 years.
Lebovits wrote that jurors may find that Johnson & Johnson was for many years “knowingly misleading” or “willfully blind” to the potential health risks of its talc-based products, in part to maintain its market share and its profits.
The New Brunswick, New Jersey-based company has appealed to the United States Supreme Court for $ 2.12 billion in compensation in Missouri to women who blamed their ovarian cancer on the asbestos in its baby powder and other talcum products.
Johnson & Johnson has come under scrutiny for the safety of its baby powder following a 2018 Reuters investigative report which found it had known for decades asbestos in its talc.
Internal company records, testimony and other evidence show that at least from 1971 to the early 2000s, J&J raw talc and finished powders occasionally tested positive for small amounts of asbestos.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by The Bharat Express News staff and is posted Platforms.)