In one of the biggest verdicts to come down in a large number of mesothelioma lawsuits that have been filed against Johnson & Johnson, a state jury in New York ordered the company to pay a woman suffering from mesothelioma $300 million in punitive damages. (mesothelioma.net)
This means Donna Olson and her husband will have been awarded a total of $325 million, as the cancer sufferer has been awarded by the jury $20 million for pain and suffering first, and her husband also was awarded $5 million as well. The two accused J&J of responsibility for her mesothelioma, which is caused only by exposure to asbestos. They claimed the company’s baby powder was tainted with asbestos.
Thousands of Lawsuits Pending Against J&J
At this time, there are more than 14,000 lawsuits filed against J&J with some claims from plaintiffs being due to diagnoses of mesothelioma and other from ovarian cancer diagnoses. In all of these lawsuits, the issue at hand is whether J&J’s product was tainted with asbestos, and whether the firm knew or should have known about the issue and taken firmer action to protect the public.
Johnson & Johnson have denied asbestos being present in any of their baby powder products, but there has been much evidence shown at trial that indicated asbestos was present and the company had many internal conversations about the problem years ago when they seemed to be more concern about corporate profits and the company’s reputation as a result of asbestos contamination problems becoming public knowledge. Attorneys representing the plaintiffs also showed evidence that J&J tried to influence FDA about regulations for talc-based products.
Punitive Damages Indicate Jury Thought J&J Did Wrong
J&J spokespeople have said many times that their company is not responsible for causing people’s cancer with tainted baby powder, and have said they will appeal the above verdict as they have most other verdicts. Olson’s representative pointed out the major punitive damages award that the jury gave the couple, indicating this showed J&J acted in a reckless fashion.
The public has gotten increasingly concerned and aware of the problem since Reuters published a report that showed J&J knew about the presence of asbestos in their baby powder products, and a St. Louis jury decided a $4.7 billion verdict in favor of 22 litigants who made accusations that the company’s baby powder was responsible for causing their ovarian cancer. Interestingly, the Department of Justice and the SEC recently issued subpoenas to J&J on this issue.
Why File a Mesothelioma Lawsuit?
If you worked in an environment where you were exposed to asbestos and eventually were diagnosed with mesothelioma, current state and federal laws allow you to file a personal injury lawsuit. One of the best venues to file is in the state of California. In California, you can file a lawsuit not just for a worker that was exposed and made ill by exposure to asbestos, but also members of the family who became ill from secondary asbestos exposure. It is not unusual for family members to be exposed to dangerous asbestos fibers that come home on workers’ clothes and tools.
California attorneys have argued in state courts successfully that all employers who knew about the dangers of workers being exposed to asbestos, have a requirement to provide protection measures, such as lockers and showers so employees can switch clothes before they head home. This way their family members are not at risk for asbestos exposure.
One of the challenges of asbestos exposure is that many years usually go by between the time you are exposed to the carcinogen and when you are diagnosed with cancer. When asbestos fibers are inhaled into the mouth or nose, they get into the lungs and eventually can damage cells in the lung lining. This is pleural mesothelioma. It also is possible for sharp asbestos fibers to work their way into the abdomen and cause peritoneal mesothelioma.
Whatever form of mesothelioma you suffer from, the disease can take years to develop. The cancer is very serious and is usually terminal, with most patients not living more than a few years.
Fast Tracked Mesothelioma Lawsuits in California
If you are in California and want to file a mesothelioma lawsuit, you have more protections offered here than in other states. It is possible for people who are seriously ill to get a mesothelioma lawsuit on the fast track so the case can be resolved faster. This is important because many people with this cancer have huge medical bills that need to be paid. The sooner they can get paid, the better for them.
In the past 20 years, some states that have seen a high number of mesothelioma lawsuits began to cut down on the number of cases that could be filed, but this is not true in California. Some courts in the state have seen more lawsuits that are being filed by people who live out of state.
This is the reason why California decided to not pass laws that can make it harder for those diagnosed with mesothelioma to get the compensation they deserve in lawsuits. California has actually passed laws that make it easier to handle more mesothelioma cases so they can speed patient claims. These people need financial relief, and this allows an efficient, fast track approach that allows cases of patients who are ill with asbestos cancer to get to court in only a few months.
Who Can File a Mesothelioma Lawsuit in California?
There are restrictions in some states on asbestos lawsuits that prevent cancer sufferers from out of state from filing lawsuits. California does not have such restrictions. This is a big plus because an asbestos cancer lawsuit in this state may have a higher chance of success and get you more compensation faster. Even if the asbestos cancer lawsuit settles before trial, you could get a larger amount of compensation. Corporations know that verdicts in this state have a higher chance of going against them. This can boost their motivation to agree to a bigger settlement.
Talk to a California mesothelioma lawyer today if you have been exposed to asbestos and have been diagnosed with asbestos cancer.
- New York Jury Awards Mesothelioma Victim Total of $325 Million. (2019). Retrieved from https://mesothelioma.net/mesothelioma-news/new-york-jury-awards-mesothelioma-victim-total-of-325-million-from-johnson-johnson