A Manhattan judge ordered baby powder behemoth Johnson & Johnson to pay a Brooklyn couple $120 million in their lawsuit over asbestos in the company’s products, recently filed court documents reveal.
Donna Olson, 67, sued J&J in October 2017 after falling ill with mesothelioma — an aggressive cancer caused by asbestos exposure — alleging their popular talc was to blame, court papers show.
After a 14-week trial, a jury sided with Olson in May 2019 and decided on a payout of $325 million. On Wednesday, Manhattan Supreme Justice Gerald Lebovits reduced the payout and said Olson and her husband could take their case to trial again, or accept $120 million, according to the court papers.
“I was satisfied with the result and we’re confident in responding to any appeal that Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries might make,” the Olsons’ lawyer Jerry Block told the Daily News.
Olson’s mesothelioma is at an advanced stage, but Block said everyone is “hoping for the best.”
The case marks the first of its kind tried against Johnson & Johnson in New York related to its baby talcum powder.
In September, New York filed civil charges against the New Brunswick, N.J. pharmaceutical giant — accusing it of insurance fraud and downplaying the risks of highly addictive painkillers at the height of the opioid crisis.
New York’s Department of Financial Services said the company, along with Janssen Pharmaceuticals, targeted elderly patients for opioid treatment and used marketing tactics that hid the risks of addiction.
“We continue to believe this trial suffered significant legal and evidentiary errors and will be pursuing an appeal of the verdict,” the statement said. “We deeply sympathize with anyone suffering from cancer, which is why the facts are so important. We remain confident that our talc is safe, asbestos free, and does not cause cancer.”