Johnson & Johnson vows to appeal $4.7 billion talcum products verdict

Johnson & Johnson vows to appeal $4.7 billion talcum products verdict

The pharmaceutical goods major will have to pay Dollars 550 million in compensatory damages and USD 4.14 billion in punitive damages to the women and their families. Following that case, multiple women came forward and Johnson & Johnson is now facing around 9,000 cases regarding its talcum powder. Several other cases have involved sizeable damages, including a $417 million verdict reached by jurors in Los Angeles County Superior Court a year ago. The company has consistently denied that its products can be linked to the disease.

Six of the 22 women are now deceased and one more was too ill to attend the trial; the courtroom was filled with the remaining plaintiffs and their families and friends.

In some cases, large settlements have been overturned, as was the case in October when a Los Angeles judge overturned a $417 million settlement against the company on grounds that "serious misconduct" was allegedly committed by a jury.

The jurors sat through weeks of testimony listening to experts who explained the complicated science, workers at Johnson & Johnson who said their product was safe. His study was followed by several more finding an increased risk of ovarian cancer among regular users of talcum powder. Already, Johnson & Johnson is reeling from the decision; its stock is down almost 3% in premarket trading.

'Johnson & Johnson remains confident that its products do not contain asbestos and do not cause ovarian cancer and intends to pursue all available appellate remedies, ' spokeswoman Carol Goodrich said.

This is the country's first talc/asbestos-induced ovarian cancer verdict.

"For over 40 years, Johnson & Johnson has covered up the evidence of asbestos in their products", said Mark Lanier, lead trial counsel for the plaintiffs. Valeant now faces suits over the body powder. The women claim that either the talc caused ovarian cancer or that the product's talc led to mesothelioma.

Ingham, who used baby powder for decades, said she joined the lawsuit because women who use baby powder 'need to know what's in there. Five plaintiffs were from Missouri, with others from states that include Arizona, New York, North Dakota, California, Georgia, the Carolinas and Texas. A SC jury couldn't reach a verdict on similar claims in the same week as the California verdict.

The punitive part of the St. Louis verdict may be particularly vulnerable to post-trial challenges or appeals.

Punitive damages are additional punishments levied against a defendant to prevent similar actions in the future. Plus, many appeals courts cut back punitive damages awards on appeal.

The high court said in 2002 that such sanctions may be considered excessive if they exceed a single-digit ratio to the actual-damage award.

The verdict marked the sixth-largest award related to product defects in US history, Bloomberg reported.

Under the Supreme Court guidelines the $4 billion punitive award in St. Louis would likely be considered "excessive", said Anthony Sabino, law professor at St. John's University in NY.

According to the victims' lawyer, Mark Lanier, a jury composed of six men and six women in St Louis, Missouri, ruled in favor of the women after a six-week trial and eight hours of deliberation.

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