NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — Johnson & Johnson and its talc supplier have been hit with a $37 million verdict in compensatory damages over claims that a New Jersey man contracted a deadly form of cancer from using the healthcare giant’s talc powder products that contained asbestos.
A jury in Middlesex County Superior court found New Brunswick-based J&J responsible for 70% of the damages in a Thursday decision after more than two months of trial. The panel found Imerys SA, the company’s the France-based talc supplier, responsible for the remaining 30% of damages.
Stephen Lanzo, now in his mid-40s, said he was exposed to asbestos by inhaling dust from J&J baby powder from approximately 1972 to roughly 2003, according to the court complaint in the civil case. He was diagnosed in 2016 with mesothelioma, an aggressive form of cancer that develops in the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or heart as the result of asbestos fibers.