Johnson & Johnson has been ordered by a New York state judge to pay $120 million in damages to a Brooklyn woman and her husband, after she blamed her cancer on asbestos exposure from using the company’s baby powder
Justice Gerald Lebovits of the state supreme court in Manhattan reduced the payout from the $325 million a jury awarded Donna Olson, 67, and Robert Olson, 65, in May 2019 following a 14-week trial.
While upholding the jury’s liability finding, Lebovits wrote on Nov. 11 that the damages were too high, and the Olsons could either accept $120 million or have a new trial on damages.
Johnson & Johnson said it will appeal the verdict, citing “significant legal and evidentiary errors” at the trial. We deeply sympathize with anyone suffering from cancer, which is why the facts are so important,” the company said. “We remain confident that our talc is safe, asbestos free, and does not cause cancer.”
Donna Olson had testified that she used Johnson’s Baby Powder or Shower to Shower daily for more than 50 years. Johnson & Johnson has faced intense scrutiny of its baby powder’s safety following a 2018 Reuters investigative report that found it knew for decades about asbestos in its talc.