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New York state judge Gerald Lebovits recently ordered Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) to pay $120 million compensation charges to 67 years old Donna Olson, a resident of Brooklyn.
Olson claimed that she got cancer because of asbestos exposure from the company’s baby powder. Initially, a jury imposed a penalty of $325 million on the company, but Justice Lebovits decreased the payout in his latest verdict on Wednesday, citing the original fine was too high.
The payout includes punitive damages worth $105 million and compensatory damages of $15 million, down from previously announced $300 million and $25 million, respectively. Lebovits said in his verdict that Olson could either take the new award or file for another trial on damages in case of dissatisfaction.
Olson’s attorney Jerome Block expressed his satisfaction on the decision and said he is certain that the ruling would stand. Olson testified during the trial that she used the company’s baby powder for over 50 years.
On the other hand, Johnson & Johnson said it will file an appeal, referring to legal and evidentiary flaws during the trial.
The company said in a statement “we remain confident that our talc is safe, asbestos free, and does not cause cancer.”
Separately, Johnson & Johnson has filed an appeal in the U.S. Supreme Court against a $2.12 billion damage payout to women who also alleged that they got cancer due to continued use of the company’s’ talc products.
The company has faced heavy criticism in the past from customers and regulators following reports related to the presence of asbestos in its products.
Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) shares are slightly down in the mid-day trading Friday. Overall, JNJ stock remained almost flat in terms of price change during the current fiscal year.
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