A New York jury ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay a 66-year-old woman $25 million in compensatory damages after finding that decades of using Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower body powder containing talc contributed to her mesothelioma diagnosis. The jury will return next week to decide whether plaintiff Donna Olson and her husband should receive punitive damages.
The Olsons’ case is one of more than 14,000 that accuse Johnson & Johnson’s talc-containing products of causing ovarian cancer or mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure. Many of the lawsuits allege that the talc Johnson & Johnson used in its consumer health care products was contaminated with asbestos, a known carcinogen.
Johnson & Johnson has consistently denied the claims, but many juries have sided with the plaintiffs resulting in major verdicts.
In 2018, plaintiff Stephen Lanzo sued Johnson & Johnson as well as other talcum powder manufacturers, alleging his regular use of their talc-containing products caused his mesothelioma. A New Jersey jury awarded him $117 million in damages. In March 2019, a California state jury awarded nearly $29.5 million to a woman who claimed that Johnson’s Baby Powder caused her mesothelioma. Another trial is currently underway in that state.
Johnson & Johnson spokeswoman Kim Montagnino said the company will appeal.