J&J ordered to pay $750m in latest asbestos talc payout

By Becky Bargh | Published: 10-Feb-2020

A jury tells the court that the baby powder manufacturer acted ‘maliciously or in wanton disregard’

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Baby powder maker Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has been ordered to pay US$750m in damages to four victims after its talc products were found to contain cancer-causing asbestos.

A New Jersey jury agreed that J&J acted “maliciously or in wanton disregard” of the safety risks of the four complainants.

“This case is really about the fact that J&J structured their last 50 years of conduct around concealing that there were, and have always been, asbestos fibres in their baby powder,” said the plaintiffs’ lawyer Christ Panatier.

“They designed test methods that they knew lacked the sensitivity to detect the asbestos that was present and then on the occasions when asbestos was found, took steps to make excuses, blame non-existent contamination, delete and alter test results.”

The New York Post reported that the cancer patients in this case were diagnosed with mesothelioma, which develops from the thin lining of tissue that covers a number of internal organs.

In addition to the size of the payout, this was a significant trial as it was the first time J&J’s CEO Alex Gorsky gave evidence.

Timeline of J&J's court cases

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