Judge in Mesothelioma Lawsuit Denies Johnson & Johnson’s Request to Set Aside $37.3 Million Verdict

Just over two months ago, a New Jersey jury awarded a combined #37.3 million in compensatory damages to four people who’d accused consumer giant Johnson & Johnson of being responsible for their mesothelioma diagnosis. All four claimed that they’d developed the rare and fatal form of cancer as a result of using the company’s iconic baby powder product, saying that it was contaminated with asbestos. Though the jury agreed with the plaintiffs, the company filed a motion to set aside the verdict for a number of reasons. Last week Superior Court Judge Ana C. Viscomi denied their request, saying that such a motion could not be considered until the case had been entirely heard and decided and that, “This trial is not over.”

Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder Case To Enter Punitive Damages Phase

In her ruling against the company’s motion, Judge Viscomi pointed out that the mesothelioma lawsuit had not yet entered the punitive damages phase of the case, and said that no such decision could be made until the trial was over. She also denied the company’s request to remove one of the original plaintiffs from the punitive phase because he’d died. 

Though Johnson & Johnson’s attorneys argued that the fact of Will Ronning’s mesothelioma death would prejudice the jury as they considered whether and to what extent the company the company had acted punitively and with disregard to the plaintiffs’ rights, the judge pointed to previous cases where that request had been denied, and added that “certainly a jury is entitled to know of the death, that it would be a fraud on the jury, a fraud upon the court to not acknowledge the death of the plaintiff who died in the middle of trial.”

Compensatory Phase of Trial Lasted Two Months

The first phase of the four plaintiffs’ mesothelioma lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson lasted for two months and ended on September 11th.  On that date the jury awarded Mr. Ronning and co-plaintiffs D’Angela McNeill-George, Douglas Barden and David Etheridge $37.3 million in damages for their exposure to asbestos in the company’s talc products.

The next phase of the trial is likely  focus on internal documents showing that Johnson & Johnson executives and employees were aware of and expressed concerns about news of asbestos in their product impacting the company’s bottom line.

Mesothelioma victims are exposed to asbestos in many ways, but they all end up with the same dire prognosis. If you have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease and you need information, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the head writer of our Mesothelioma.net news blog. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes that knowledge is power and she is committed to sharing news about the impact of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and victims’ stories.

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