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J&J Can't Beat $186M Punitive Award In Talc Asbestos Case

  • Market Insight 29 June 2020 29 June 2020
  • Americas

  • Insurance & Reinsurance

New Jersey Superior Court rejected the appeal by Johnson & Johnson to overturn or reduce the $186 million judgment for the company's sales of baby powder that allegedly contained asbestos.

J&J Can't Beat $186M Punitive Award In Talc Asbestos Case

New Jersey Superior Court Judge Ana C. Viscomi rejected an appeal by Johnson & Johnson to overturn or reduce the $186 million judgment against the company for their sales of baby powder that allegedly contained asbestos. The judge referred to J&J's use of "direct lies" to its customers and government officials, and stated that the jury found "clear and convincing evidence" the company was involved in a succession of wrongdoings. The court ruled that the company did not provide information to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, utilized testing methods "that it knew was not sensitive enough to detect asbestos," and "knew its talc was contaminated with asbestos for decades."

In the decision, the court found that "the award, modified by the Punitive Damages Act, is not so clearly disproportionate to the injury and does not shock the conscience of the court." Judge Viscomi included in her judgement that by "editing unfavorable test results from reports," J&J provided false information to the FDA and its customers by asserting a process was used that "removed all impurities" from its talc powder products when the company knew it did not remove certain types of asbestos.

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