By Mike Lasusa, Law360 (February 27, 2020, 11:10 PM EST)
A jury in Miami ordered Johnson & Johnsonon Thursday to pay a Florida woman $9 million after finding the consumer products behemoth caused the woman’s mesothelioma by exposing her to asbestos in baby powder it sold, with an attorney saying it’s the first such verdict in the Sunshine State.
The jury said J&J had been negligent and sold a defective product, and awarded plaintiff Blanca Moure-Cabrera $3 million for past medical expenses, plus $6 million for past and future pain and suffering.
Moure-Cabrera’s attorney Marc Kunen of The Ferraro Law Firm told Law360 on Thursday that the jury verdict — the first of its kind in Florida — was “bittersweet.”
“Although we are pleased with the results, the reality is that Ms. Moure-Cabrera is still suffering from a devastating cancer that will ultimately take her life,” Kunen said.
J&J said in a statement on Thursday that would appeal the verdict, saying it goes against “decades of evidence showing the company acted responsibly.”
“Consumers can be assured that more than 40 years of independent scientific evaluations confirm that Johnson’s Baby Powder is safe, does not contain asbestos and does not cause cancer,” J&J said.
The verdict comes just two days after the New Brunswick, New Jersey-based corporate goliath cut a deal with a 62-year-old woman who had alleged that asbestos in its baby powder caused her mesothelioma, heading off a trial as the jury was being instructed before opening statements.
In January, J&J reached a deal with plaintiff Linda O’Hagan, putting a stop to a trial underway in Alameda County, California, and keeping one of the first juries to hear about the U.S. Food and Drug Administration‘s October 2019 finding of asbestos in a bottle of talcum powder from delivering a verdict.
And earlier this month, a New Brunswick, New Jersey, jury hit J&J with $750 million dollars in punitive damages — immediately reduced to $186 million due to a state cap on punitive damages — in another case over allegations of asbestos in the company’s baby powder.
A prior jury in the case had found in favor of several mesothelioma victims who alleged J&J’s products caused their cancers and awarded them $37.3 million in compensatory damages.