A New Jersey jury handed a stunning victory to mesothelioma victim Stephen Lanzo and his wife, following up on their decision to award them $37 million in compensatory damages with an additional $80 million in punitive damages. to be paid by defendants Johnson & Johnson and Imerys Talc America.
The two verdicts were a response to testimony that claimed Lanzo was exposed to asbestos in Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based powder products, and that this exposure led to him being diagnosed with the rare and fatal form of cancer.
Although both Johnson & Johnson and Imerys Talc have defended themselves against the charges and have already taken action to file appeals, the verdicts are likely to mean that many more mesothelioma victims will be filing lawsuits against them in the future.
Mr. Lanzo’s lawsuit was only the second to claim that asbestos in the product caused his terminal illness, but follows the filing of thousands of lawsuits making similar claims blaming the product for women’s ovarian cancer.
Much of the evidence in all of these cases rests on a confidential internal memo written by a Johnson & Johnson scientist in 1968, warning that the company faced significant risk of liability should the public ever find out that the company’s talc was contaminated with asbestos.
Asbestos is a mineral that is often found in close proximity to talc, and which has long been known to cause mesothelioma and other serious diseases.
Research has shown that its carcinogenic effects can also affect other organs, and that is the basis for the ovarian cancer lawsuits: Johnson & Johnson and other companies that sold talc products often marketed it for feminine hygiene, encouraging women to sprinkle it into their underwear as part of their daily routine.
Experts say that the product then traveled into women’s reproductive organs, where it caused mutations that developed into cancer.
Johnson & Johnson has denied the allegations that its product contained the deadly material, and so has Imerys, the company that provided Johnson & Johnson with the talc.
Juries have not agreed, and have already decided several other cases that have paid victims hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation. There are currently over 6,000 ovarian cancer lawsuits pending against the company, and it is unknown how many mesothelioma lawsuits will be filed in the future.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or any other asbestos-related condition, the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net are here to provide you with any information you need. Contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.