J&J AIMS TO SINK $117M TALC VERDICTS WITH ‘SEISMIC’ IMPACT
Johnson & Johnson and Imerys Talc America called on a New Jersey state appeals court Tuesday to erase verdicts totaling $117 million in damages over claims J&J products contained asbestos and caused a man’s mesothelioma, with the pharmaceutical giant saying the decisions carried “seismic ramifications” for the state court system.
Nearly three years after jurors handed those victories to Stephen Lanzo III and his wife, J&J and Imerys attorneys urged the panel during a remote hearing to toss the verdicts over an array of alleged problems at the trial.
In April 2018, jurors found that Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. products, including its baby powder, contained asbestos, and that Lanzo’s exposure to the toxic mineral in the products between 1972 and 2003 played a substantial role in his contracting mesothelioma.
The jury awarded compensatory damages of $30 million to Lanzo and $7 million to his wife, Kendra, also a plaintiff in the case. JJCI was ascribed 70% of the blame and Imerys was given 30%. Imerys supplied talc to J&J during part of the period in question.
About a week later, the jury awarded $55 million in punitive damages against JJCI and $25 million against Imerys after finding that the companies acted in wanton and willful disregard of the Lanzos’ rights.
The current Tuesday decision could “…. set the rules for fairness for hundreds of cases already filed in New Jersey.”