On May 21, a jury in New York issued a $25 million verdict against Johnson & Johnson. The plaintiff, a 66-year-old New York woman named Donna Olson, will receive compensatory damages for developing mesothelioma after using talcum powder, Bloomberg reported.
Originally filed by Olson, the lawsuit claims Johnson & Johnson had used asbestos-containing talc in their baby powders and Shower to Shower products. That asbestos reportedly caused Olson to contract mesothelioma, a rare form of lung cancer, according to court documents.
Johnson & Johnson faces over 14,000 claims that its talc-containing products may cause ovarian cancer and mesothelioma. Initially, Johnson & Johnson tried to move the case out of New York courts and into the federal judicial system, but the company's motion was denied.
Before the trial, Judge Manuel Mendez ruled the Johnson & Johnson verdict could include punitive damages against the company. The ruling is reportedly based on the plaintiff's argument that Johnson & Johnson put “corporate profits and reputation over the health and safety of consumers."
The Johnson & Johnson verdict is already being appealed by the company, but the corporation has a hit-and-miss record with these lawsuits. In the 24 asbestos-based lawsuits filed since 2016, Johnson & Johnson has won seven.
With precedent favoring plaintiffs, the Johnson & Johnson verdict will likely be upheld. This is a positive outcome for others seeking restitution for Johnson & Johnson placing of “corporate profits” over “the health and safety of consumers.”
The takeaway from the Johnson & Johnson verdict is twofold. For future plaintiffs, the verdict seems to favor the victims of Johnson & Johnson’s practices. For consumers, it’s a reminder that while trust in regulatory bodies is good, being an advocate for personal health can prevent complications in the future.