J&J Ordered to Pay $18.8 Million to Man Who Developed Cancer After Using Baby Powder

California: A California jury has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $18.8 million in damages to a 24-year-old man who claims that the company’s baby powder caused him to develop mesothelioma, a rare and deadly cancer.

The jury ruled in Emory Hernandez Valadez’s favour, granting compensation for medical expenses and suffering, but did not award punitive damages. However, due to a bankruptcy court order freezing most talc-related litigation, Hernandez may not be able to collect the judgment for the foreseeable future.

J&J plans to appeal the verdict, asserting that their baby powder is safe and asbestos-free, backed by decades of independent scientific evaluations. They deny any link between Hernandez’s mesothelioma and their talc products.

Tens of thousands of similar cases have been filed against J&J, alleging that their talc-based products contain asbestos, leading to ovarian cancer and mesothelioma. The company’s subsidiary, LTL Management, has filed for bankruptcy, aiming to settle over 38,000 lawsuits with a proposed $8.9 billion payout.

Despite most litigation being halted during bankruptcy proceedings, Hernandez’s trial was allowed to proceed due to his terminal prognosis. His specific form of mesothelioma is rare, setting his case apart from the majority against J&J.

Asbestos plaintiffs seek to have LTL’s bankruptcy filing dismissed, claiming it was brought in bad faith to shield the company from litigation. J&J and LTL argue that bankruptcy offers fairer and more efficient settlement payouts compared to trial courts.

J&J’s talc-related verdicts, settlements, and legal expenses have already reached approximately $4.5 billion.

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