On Thursday, February 6th, a New Jersey state court awarded plaintiffs $750 million in punitive damages to four people claiming they suffered due to exposure to asbestos in Johnson & Johnson’s cosmetic talc products. The trial judge then reduced the award to $186.5 million.
Initially, another jury had awarded the plaintiffs $37.2 million in compensatory damages last September. This lawsuit is the first time in history a jury has awarded consolidated claims from multiple plaintiffs. The claim is due to mesothelioma due to exposure to Johnson & Johnson’s products containing talc.
The trial began in January, and after two hours of deliberation, the jury returned their verdict. Johnson & Johnson vowed to appeal.
After the jury awarded the plaintiffs the verdict, Judge Ana Viscomi reduced the judgment due to a New Jersey state law. The new law limits punitive damages to five times the amount of the compensation award.