May 24, 2018

Los Angeles jury awards $4 million in punitive damages against Johnson & Johnson

Bloomberg reports that today a jury awarded $4 million in punitive damages, on top of $21.7 million in compensatory damages, to a 68-year-old woman who claims she developed mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos in Johnson & Johnson's baby powder.

Last year, a similar California case ended in a defense verdict, but Johnson & Johnson was hit for $417 million in another case in which the plaintiff alleged that talc itself (not contaminated by asbestos) causes ovarian cancer.  The trial court vacated that award due to jury misconduct and other problems. 

The company says that its talc products do not contain asbestos or cause cancer, and it plans to appeal in this case (assuming that the trial court does not toss this award too).