J&J, Imerys Ordered To Pay $37 Mln In Case Over Talc Cancer Risks

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and a talc mining company must pay at least $37 million to an investment banker who blamed the companies' products for causing him to develop a deadly cancer linked to asbestos.

Jurors in state court in New Brunswick, New Jersey concluded Thursday J&J and Imerys SA hid that their talc-based products, including J&J's iconic baby powder, had been tainted by asbestos and helped cause Stephen Lanzo III's disease. The jury will also weigh next week whether the companies' mishandling of the talc warrants an award of punitive damages.

The verdict is the first time a jury has backed a consumer's claims that the company's baby powder causes mesothelioma, an often-fatal cancer linked to asbestos. About 6,600 women have sued the world's largest health-care company blaming the powder for causing their ovarian cancers.

Jurors in a court located less than a mile from J&J's headquarters awarded Lanzo $30 million for his pain and suffering. The panel awarded Lanzo's wife, Kendra, $7 million in damages as well. The seven-woman jury deliberated less than a day before holding the companies liable.

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