NJ jury orders J&J to pay $750 million in punitive damages in latest baby powder verdict

Johnson & Johnson was ordered Thursday to pay $750 million in punitive damages to four people who claimed the company's talcum powders caused mesothelioma. Citing state law, however, the judge in the trial, Ana C.

Johnson & Johnson was ordered Thursday to pay $750 million in punitive damages to four people who claimed the company's talcum powders caused mesothelioma. Citing state law, however, the judge in the trial, Ana C. Viscomi of New Jersey Superior Court, said she intended to lower the punitive award to $186.5 million, or about five times the $37.3 million in compensatory damages awarded by a separate jury in the first part of the case in 2019. This was the first trial in which J&J CEO Alex Gorsky testified in court in litigation about the safety of the company's Baby Powder and another talc-containing powder the company used to market, Shower to Shower. Despite Gorsky's testimony that J&J took measures to ensure that its talc-containing powder was safe and did not contain asbestos, the jury held that the company's conduct caused harm to the plaintiffs, who had mesothelioma. In addition, the jury said the conduct was either malicious or in wanton and willful disregard of the plaintiffs' rights. J&J said it plans to appeal the verdicts in both phases of the trial, asserting there were "numerous legal errors that subjected the jury to irrelevant information and prevented them from hearing meaningful evidence."