Johnson & Johnson Fined $72m Over Cancer Case
A court in the American State of Missouri has fined Johnson & Johnson 72 million dollars for an alleged death of a woman from cancer over the use of their baby powder. The deceased Jackie Fox, aged 62, was a citizen of Alabama and had been using the company’s powder for a very long time. Her family attorney asserted that the firm knew the risk but did not warn users. J & J opposed such statement and is examining its chances of appeal.
Spokeswoman for the company told the media that “For us, there is no higher responsibility than the health and well-being of our consumers… We offer condolences to the plaintiff’s family but firmly believe that safety of our cosmetic products is evident from decades of scientific research”.
It is for the first time that a claim for damages has been accepted by a US jury over talc. The case has set precedent. More than 1000 similar cases remain pending all over US and the lawyers said thousands more could now be filed.
The court heard the charges against J & J that included negligence, fraud and conspiracy and contemplated for over 5 hours before holding J & J liable and awarding $10 m in damages and $62 m in punitive damages.
A professor at Stanford University said, “This case clearly was a trendsetter and clearly the jury has seen the evidence and found it compelling”. However, she said the size of the award was unlikely to survive. “Big jury verdicts do tend to be repressed during the course of the appellate process and I expect that to be the case here,” she said.