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Johnson & Johnson Ordered To Pay $750 Mln In New Jersey Baby Powder Case

A New Jersey jury has ordered Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) to pay $750 million in punitive damages to four cancer victims who charged that the company's Johnson's Baby Powder contained cancer-causing asbestos.

The jury agreed that J&J had acted "maliciously or in wanton disregard" of the safety risks of the four plaintiffs.

"This case is really about the fact that J&J structured their last 50 years of conduct around concealing that there were, and have always been, asbestos fibers in their baby powder," said trial lawyer Chris Panatier of Dallas-based Simon Greenstone Panatier. "They designed test methods that they knew lacked the sensitivity to detect the asbestos that was present and then on the occasions when asbestos was found, took steps to make excuses, blame non-existent contamination, delete and alter test results. The jury saw all of that."

In September, a separate jury found Johnson & Johnson liable in the lawsuit by plaintiffs Douglas Barden, David Etheridge, D'Angela McNeill and Will Ronning and awarded $37.3 million in actual damages.

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