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8:35pm update: Added J&J commentary.
Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) had to pay $18.8 million after a jury ruled in favor of a man who claimed the pharmaceutical company’s talc-based baby powder was responsible for his mesothelioma.
The jury awarded plaintiff Anthony Hernandez Valadez $18.8 million in damages in an Oakland, California courtroom on Tuesday.
The case is the first in two years in powder-based litigation against J&J after thousands of other cases were dismissed as J&J sought to separate its speaking responsibilities in Chapter 11 bankruptcy for its LTL Management unit. The case was allowed to proceed due to Valadez’s ailing health.
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) said it would appeal the decision in a statement to Seeking Alpha.
“We thank the jurors for their efforts but intend to appeal based on the judge’s wrong decision,” Erik Haas, vice president of worldwide litigation, Johnson & Johnson, said in the statement. “The ruling prevents us from sharing with the jury critical facts demonstrating the plaintiff’s extremely rare form of mesothelioma was not caused by Baby Powder.”
Johnson & Johnson earlier this year asked the courts to postpone the lawsuits after J&J in April offered $8.9 billion to settle talc claims, up from an initial offer of $2 billion.
“The judgment award will not be paid while the Bankruptcy proceedings continue, and this decision has absolutely no impact on the proceedings, which have the support of attorneys representing the majority of the plaintiffs,” continued Hass. “We remain focused on all plaintiffs having the opportunity to choose and decide for themselves our plan to compensate them in a timely and efficient manner.”
Johnson & Johnson subsidiary LTL Management, which was created to file for bankruptcy as a way to deal with powder litigation, reinstated Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April after its first attempt failed.