Jul 18, 2023 - Economy

J&J must pay cancer patient $18.8M in baby powder lawsuit, jury says

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson was ordered by a California jury on Tuesday to pay $18.8 million to a man who said in a lawsuit that he developed cancer due to exposure to its baby powder, per Reuters. J&J said it will appeal the decision.

Why it matters: J&J is seeking to settle lawsuits from cancer survivors and their families who allege the company's talc-based powder caused their illness while denying that this is the case.

Driving the news: California cancer patient Emory Hernandez Valadez, 24, alleged in a lawsuit in state court in Oakland last year that he developed mesothelioma in tissue around his heart because he was exposed to the J&J product as a child.

  • "The jury found that Hernandez was entitled to damages to compensate him for his medical bills and pain and suffering, but declined to award punitive damages against the company," per Reuters.

Yes, but: Hernandez cannot be awarded the damages as it stands due to bankruptcy proceedings that prevent such payments in cases involving J&J talc, which accusers say caused cancer due to contamination with the known carcinogen asbestos — a claim the company denies.

What they're saying: J&J vice president of litigation Erik Haas said in an emailed statement Tuesday evening that the verdict was "irreconcilable with the decades of independent scientific evaluations confirming Johnson's Baby Powder is safe, does not contain asbestos and does not cause cancer."

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