Following a three-month trial, the law firms of Levy Konigsberg L.L.P. and Kazan, McClain, Satterley & Greenwood, P.C. closed on a multimillion-dollar verdict and award against Johnson & Johnson and Imerys Talc America in a case that revolved around asbestos found in the defendants’ baby powder.
The case was Stephen and Kendra Lanzo v. Johnson & Johnson Consumer, Inc. and Imerys Talc America, Inc. On April 11, a New Brunswick, NJ jury awarded punitive damages against Johnson & Johnson Consumer, Inc. in the amount of $55 million, and against Imerys Talc America, Inc. in the amount of $25 million. This massive sum comes on the heels of another $37 million in compensation the same jury awarded for Stephen Lanzo’s asbestos mesothelioma.
The jury found unanimously that Johnson’s Baby Powder contained asbestos during the years of Stephen Lanzo’s use from 1972 to 2003 and that both Johnson Consumer, Inc. and Imerys Talc America, Inc. failed to adequately warn about this severe health hazard, and that Johnson & Johnson Consumer, Inc. had a safer design in cornstarch, which it sold as an alternative to its talc baby powder.
The plaintiffs were represented by Moshe Maimon of New York and New Jersey-based Levy Konigsberg, L.L.P. and Joseph Satterley and Denyse Clancy of Kazan, McClain, Satterley & Greenwood, P.C. of Oakland, California. Maimon said that the verdict was a result of newly revealed, confidential company documents.
The trial is notable because previous ovarian cancer verdicts against Johnson & Johnson for its talc baby powder have not involved allegations as to its asbestos contents.
In a chilling account, the Lanzo’s attorneys proved through the companies’ internal documents that in 1969 Johnson & Johnson created “Project 101,” in which its lead medical doctor identified the problem of asbestos in the talc used in Johnson’s baby powder, and warned that they could be facing litigation in “40 years” if Johnson & Johnson did not address this problem.
“Many of these confidential Johnson & Johnson documents were unsealed for the first time. They show that Johnson & Johnson had known for decades that there was asbestos-contamination in its baby powder,” noted Satterley.
At trial, a corporate representative for Imerys Talc America, Inc. admitted that Imerys and its predecessor entities have known since the 1960’s at the company’s “highest levels” that asbestos exposure causes cancer.
Levy Konigsberg was listed in Leaders In The Law’s New York’s Top Verdicts 2017.