Weitz & Luxenberg attorneys Danny R. Kraft, Jr., Joseph J. Mandia, and Benno Ashrafi recently secured a $27.4 million trial verdict for Shawn “Val” Johnson. Mr. Johnson is a decades-long user of Johnson’s® Baby Powder who developed terminal mesothelioma cancer as a result of asbestos exposure from the talc-based baby powder.
The jury awarded Mr. Johnson $458,000 in economic damages, $2 million in noneconomic damages and $25 million in punitive damages.
Winning Verdict for Our Client
A jury in Los Angeles, California awarded $27.4 million in damages to the plaintiffs, Mr. and Mrs. Johnson. This included awards for past and future noneconomic and economic loss, as well as medical and punitive damages.
Mr. Johnson, who is 61 years old, is a well-accomplished electrical engineer, holding various patents in video technologies. He is also a devoted husband and father.
He began personally using Johnson’s® Baby Powder in the mid-1960s through the late 1970s. He continued to use the product on his seven children from approximately 1985 through to 2019.
When asked at trial why he filed this lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson, Mr. Johnson testified, in part: “And so I feel like corporations have to be held accountable.” Mr. Johnson also is greatly concerned about leaving his family behind when he ultimately passes away from his terminal cancer.
“We’re very happy that a decades-long user of Johnson’s® Baby Powder was able to convince a jury that Johnson & Johnson’s conduct was malicious and despicable. The jury awarded significant money damages and found Johnson & Johnson’s conduct to be punitive,” says Mr. Kraft, lead plaintiff’s counsel on the case.
Jury Finds Negligence
The jury found Johnson & Johnson was negligent in that it failed to act as a reasonably careful company. The jury also found manufacturing defect, design defect, and a failure to warn defect with respect to the asbestos in the talc-based Johnson’s® Baby Powder. These were all substantial factors in Mr. Johnson’s risk of developing mesothelioma and ultimately caused his terminal diagnosis.
The jury also found that corporate officers, directors, and managing agents of Johnson & Johnsons acted with malice and fraud. Based on this, the jury awarded punitive damages.
The trial lasted 38 days and was presided over by Superior Court Judge Stephen M. Moloney. (1)
Asbestos Lawsuit Successes
Weitz & Luxenberg attorneys have won many verdicts for our mesothelioma clients who were injured by asbestos. One verdict, for $75 million, was New York state’s largest single asbestos verdict. Our attorneys also won a $25 million trial verdict for an oil refinery worker, as well as a $20 million verdict for a marine ship repairman’s family.