J&J Loses Talcum Powder Lawsuit

Johnson & Johnson suffered its first loss in an asbestos-related talcum powder lawsuit Thursday after a New Jersey jury ordered the company and its talc supplier to pay $37 million in damages.

The jury awarded $30 million in compensatory damages to Stephen Lanzo III, who claims he developed mesothelioma after using Johnson & Johnson’s Shower to Shower and Baby Powder products from 1972 to 2003. His wife, Kendra, was awarded $7 million in damages.

Johnson & Johnson was held 70 percent liable in the case, meaning they must pay $25.9 million. France-based talc supplier Imerys SA is liable for the remaining 30 percent, or $11.1 million.

The jury will consider additional punitive damages in the second phase of the trial, set to begin Tuesday.

“While we are disappointed with this decision, the jury has further deliberations to conduct in this trial and we will reserve additional comment until the case is fully completed,

Talcum Powder Lawsuits

Talcum powder lawsuits are claims that baby powder manufacturers knew their talc was contaminated by asbestos and could cause mesothelioma and ovarian cancer, but did nothing to warn consumers about the risk. Most cases are individual lawsuits but at least four class action lawsuits have been filed. Recent jury verdicts have awarded billions of dollars to plaintiffs.

As of Dec. 15, 2021, Johnson & Johnson faces 37,447 cases stemming from asbestos contamination of talc products. With mounting costs from more than $4 billion in settlements, verdicts and defense costs, in summer 2021, the company created a subsidiary, LTL Management LLC, to split its assets from its liabilities.

J&J has a reported market share of more than $450 billion. The new subsidiary, however, lists its worth at $10 billion and its liabilities at $10 billion.

Despite a July 2021 letter from the U.S. House of Representatives oversight committee urging it to

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