Johnson & Johnson to pay $4.7bn damages in talc cancer case
Jul 14 2018
Johnson & Johnson has been ordered to pay $4.7 billion (£3.6 billion) to a group of 22 women who allege the company's talcum powders caused their ovarian cancer.
The defense contended that claims linking asbestos to J&J's talc-based products was a lawyer-driven argument that lacked strong scientific support and that the women developed ovarian cancer for other reasons.
Most of the women in the St. Louis trial used baby powder, but others used Shower-to-Shower, another of J&J's talc-based products. Lanier, however, told jurors that the company "rigged the tests" to avoid conceding that its baby powder contained asbestos. A court in California ruled on a similar case against the cosmetics company a year ago, calling on it to pay $417 million. However, this and a $72 million award in a separate case were both overturned on the basis of insufficient evidence and alleged jury misconduct in setting high damages.
J&J dropped 1.4 per cent in late trading after closing at US$127.76 in NY.
In a statement, he said: 'For over 40 years, Johnson & Johnson has covered up the evidence of asbestos in their products'.
The verdict follows several others against J&J; judges have nixed three in appeals. The verdict comes in the first test of plaintiffs' claims of an asbestos ovarian cancer link in use of J&J's iconic baby powder.
A St. Louis jury has awarded $550 million to almost two dozen women who claimed asbestos in Johnson & Johnson's talcum powder caused their ovarian cancer. Colgate has settled some lawsuits, including a mesothelioma case just prior to the start of the scheduled trial this week in Los Angeles. Valeant now faces suits over the body powder. The risky strategy allows earlier plaintiffs to send signals about legal tactics and their award amounts to women who bring cases later.
The women in the St Louis trial, whose jobs range from school bus driver to executive director of a job retraining programme, come from states across the country, including Pennsylvania, California, Arizona and NY.
As per the report, the company released a statement saying it is confident that its products do not contain asbestos and hence does not contribute to ovarian cancer in any way.
A state trial court jury on Thursday handed up a $4.69 billion verdict against Johnson & Johnson.
Punitive-damage awards are created to deter corporations and other defendants from engaging in conduct that is considered outrageous, wanton or excessively reckless. The amount marks the largest jury award in the U.S. in 2018, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, and the sixth-largest jury verdict in a product-defect claim in U.S. history. Plus, many appeals courts cut back punitive damages awards on appeal. "J&J has a good shot at knocking it down". Co-counsel Eric D. Holland of the Holland Law Firm in St. Louis, Missouri, was also integrally involved in the trial.