$4.69 billion verdict against Johnson & Johnson's talcum powder

  • $4.69 billion verdict against Johnson & Johnson's talcum powder

$4.69 billion verdict against Johnson & Johnson's talcum powder

Johnson &Johnson said in a statement."Johnson & Johnson is deeply disappointed in the verdict, which was the product of a fundamentally unfair process that allowed plaintiffs to present a group of 22 women, most of whom had no connection to Missouri, in a single case all alleging that they developed ovarian cancer".

The jury award includes $550 million in compensatory damages and $4.14 billion in punitive damages.

The plaintiff's lawyers said asbestos fibers were found in the ovarian tissues of numerous women and introduced evidence that explained how asbestos is intermingled with the mineral talc - the primary ingredient in Johnson's "Baby Powder" and "Shower to Shower" products.

Six of the 22 plaintiffs in the latest trial have died from ovarian cancer.

After a brief punitive phase Thursday afternoon, jurors deliberated for about 30 minutes before handing down their $4.14 billion punitive award.

Plaintiffs' lawyer Mark Lanier told the jurors during closing arguments Wednesday that they were the first to see documents showing that Johnson & Johnson knew its products contained asbestos and didn't warn consumers. The firm is embroiled in several cases against its trademark baby powder.

Target Ovarian Cancer said it was important to note that the increased risk was "very small". Johnson & Johnson has consistently denied that its products can be linked to the cancer. A Missouri appeals court tossed out a $55 million verdict in June citing jurisdictional issues. Numerous other women involved took the stand at trial to talk about their use of the products and how ovarian cancer affected their lives. The watchdog did not find asbestos contamination.

The company is being sued by more than 9,000 women who claim the powder caused their ovarian cancer.

Companies also have been using asbestos-free talc in its products since 1970.

The plaintiffs' lawyers said asbestos fibers and talc particles were found in the ovarian tissues of numerous women.

The women who sued, whose jobs range from school bus driver to executive director of a job-retraining program, come from states including Pennsylvania, California, Arizona and NY. A jury found Johnson & Johnson negligent but did not award damages to the plaintiff. However asbestos, which can contaminate talc if not carefully extracted or purified, is a carcinogen. Plus, many appeals courts cut back punitive damages awards on appeal.

Johnson & Johnson has faced multiple trials in St. Louis over ovarian-cancer claims, losing four of the first five to go to trial.