A group of mesothelioma victims who filed a lawsuit against consumer giant Johnson & Johnson, blaming asbestos in the company’s iconic baby powder for their illness, got their first victory in 2019, when a jury awarded them $37.3 million collectively in compensatory damages. But their search for justice was not over. They also sought punitive damages, hoping that the jury would send a punishing message as to the company’s wrongdoing. A separate jury did just that five months later, awarding the group a total of $750 million for what the jury deemed reckless indifference. A judge later reduced the combined punitive damages to $186 million in keeping with New Jersey state law.
One of Original Mesothelioma Victims Has Died Since Original Lawsuit
One of the original group of plaintiffs has died of the rare and fatal form of cancer since the original jury verdict was handed down. While the first phase of the trial focused on establishing that Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder was the cause of their mesothelioma, a separate jury examined evidence that the company had purposely worked to hide the dangers of their product. After hearing and reviewing testimony, it took the jury just two hours to come back with the $750 million judgment.
They found that the company had acted “maliciously or in wanton and willful disregard” of the victims’ rights by setting the testing limits and procedures aimed at detecting asbestos at strategically high levels so that the carcinogen would not be identified and they could evade making changes or being found culpable for its dangers.
Judge Reduced Mesothelioma Punitive Award in Keeping with State Law
Though the jury assigned each of the mesothelioma victims an award of $186 million in punitive damages, New Jersey state law required Superior Court Judge Ana C. Viscomi to reduce that number to a multiple of five times the compensatory verdict that each victim had been given in the earlier trial. That provided each of the victims with an amount ranging from $29.5 million in punitive damages to $73.5 million.
Page Reviewed and Edited by Mesothelioma Attorney Paul Danziger
Paul Danziger grew up in Houston, Texas and earned a law degree from Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago. For over 25 years years he has focused on representing mesothelioma cancer victims and others hurt by asbestos exposure. Paul and his law firm have represented thousands of people diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer, recovering significant compensation for injured clients. Every client is extremely important to Paul and he will take every call from clients who want to speak with him. Paul and his law firm handle mesothelioma cases throughout the United States.