Johnson & Johnson’s bid to escape a $186 million punitive award over its sale of baby powder was thrown out by a New Jersey state judge. The court cited the pharmaceutical company’s “direct lies” to consumers and regulators regarding its baby powder allegedly contaminated with asbestos.
Judge Ana C Viscomi denied the company’s motions to reduce the compensation, saying jurors could find by “clear and convincing evidence presented” that J&J engaged in a series of misdeeds. She also noted that the company lied to the FDA by “editing unfavorable test results from reports” and lied to consumers by claiming a cleansing procedure “removed all impurities” from its talc powder products.
“J&J’s conduct here was reprehensible,” Judge Viscomi said while issuing her decisions, later adding: “ The award, modified by the Punitive Damages Act, is not so clearly disproportionate to the injury and does not shock the conscience of the court.”
The judge later reduced each punitive award due to the state’s statutory cap on punitive damages to make it five times the amount of the respective compensatory verdict. Viscomi elaborated on her reasons for denying J&J’s motions for a mistrial, including the company’s mistrial bid over the judge’s ruling to strike the closing argument of then J&J attorney Diane Sullivan.
Judge Viscomi indicated that she struck the closing argument after Sullivan had ignored the judge’s admonishments throughout the trial.
“Counsel was warned what would happen if she continued her conduct. It was her choice to make,” said the judge, adding that Sullivan “chose to continue willful violations of court orders.”
A spokesperson from J&J did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
TorHoerman Law was responsible for handling a medical case for our family. I was extremely impressed with their professionalism and ability to react quickly. They also did a nice job keeping us updated with the case throughout the process. This was the first time experiencing a situation like this and Tor Hoerman law did an excellent job from start to finish.
TorHoerman Law is an extraordinary law firm – a firm that truly makes the client’s best interests the primary concern. Their team of personal injury lawyers are experienced, personable, and well versed in a range of litigation areas. They are supported by a dedicated team of staff that are as equally friendly and helpful. I would recommend TorHoerman Law for any personal injury litigation needs.
All of my questions were answered quickly and in a way I could understand. Steve and the entire staff were friendly and professional.
I highly recommend this law firm! The attorneys and staff at THL worked hard, communicated every step of the process, kept me well informed at all times, and exceeded all expectations! The staff is kind, considerate, professional, and very experienced. Look no further, call now!
Top-notch, hardworking attorneys!
A wonderful and professional legal team. They helped me when I needed expert legal representation! Thank you TorHoerman Law!
They contacted me the next day. Very nice people!
The firm went above and beyond. Thank you for everything.