On Tuesday, a jury ruled that Johnson & Johnson must pay $18.8 million to a California man who claimed that he contracted cancer after using the firm’s baby powder. As it works to resolve thousands of lawsuits like this one involving its talc-based products in a US bankruptcy court, this is a blow for the company.
Who is Emory Hernandez Valadez?
In Oakland last year, Emory Hernandez Valadez, who sued J&J in a California state court won the jury’s decision. He was seeking monetary damages. Hernandez, aged 24, claims that in his early years, heavy exposure to the company’s talc led to the development of mesothelioma, a fatal malignancy, in the tissue surrounding his heart. Based in New Brunswick, New Jersey, the six-week trial was the first talc-related case that J&J had to deal with in over two years. To cover Hernandez’s medical costs and agony and suffering, he was determined enough to be entitled to damages from the court, but the jury decided not to punish the firm with punitive damages. Because a bankruptcy court decision blocked the majority of J&J’s talc litigation, Hernandez won’t be able to collect the judgment anytime soon.
- In baby powder suits, J&J must pay $18.8 million to California cancer patients.
- The jury found that Hernandez was entitled to damages to compensate him for his pain and medical bills.
- The jury ruled in favor of Emory Hernandez Valadez, who filed suit last year.
According to J&J’s vice president of litigation Erik Haas, the verdict is “irreconcilable with the decades of independent scientific evaluations confirming, Johnson’s Baby Powder is safe, does not contain any asbestos, and does not cause cancer”. The corporation has announced that it will appeal the decision. On July 10, J&J attorneys claimed that there was no proof that Hernandez had ever been exposed to contaminated talc or that Hernandez’s specific type of mesothelioma was linked to asbestos in their closing remarks. With covering up asbestos contamination for many years in a “despicable” manner, Hernandez’s attorneys charged J&J.
Numerous lawsuits have claimed that other talc goods and J&J baby powder occasionally contained asbestos and contributed to ovarian cancer and mesothelioma. Its talc products are free of asbestos and are risk-free, which has been associated with mesothelioma, according to J&J. Since Hernandez’s type of mesothelioma is quite uncommon, his case stands out from the great majority of others against J&J. The costs of J&J’s talc-related judgments, legal fees, and settlements have reportedly totaled roughly $4.5 billion, according to bankruptcy court records.