The jury has spoken, and what it recently concluded clearly has mammoth medical device and consumer goods company Johnson & Johnson on edge and wary of future outcomes that don't bode well for the global enterprise.
What is obviously of material concern to J&J in an immediate sense is the $37 million verdict pronounced against the company last Thursday by a jury panel in New Jersey. That compensatory award could yet be further augmented by jurors' evaluation of punitive damages in the case.
In a nutshell, the jury determined that a man's long-term use of J&J products containing talc linked directly with lung cancer he contracted owing to the powder's close connection with minerals that cause mesothelioma. That virulent form of cancer is closely tied to asbestos exposure.
The outcome could spell the first of many dominoes to fall, with a slew of similar litigation working its way through court dockets across the country. A CNN article on the talc product liability case additionally notes that J&J and other talc-producing companies "face thousands of separate but related cases" in which female plaintiffs seek to connect talc use with ovarian cancer.
Johnson & Johnson principals strongly contest the New Jersey verdict, contending that their talc products have been vindicated through extensive testing.
A supplier of J&J products that was additionally assessed liability in last week's verdict also disputes the finding. It states that the claimant's asbestos exposure came from a source other than alleged contamination between that mineral and talc production.