Jury awards $4.7 billion in talcum powder case


Almost two dozen women who claimed asbestos in Johnson & Johnson talcum powder caused their ovarian cancer were awarded $550 million in damages by a St Louis jury in the first case against the company that focused on asbestos in the powder.

J&J shares fell $1.31, or 1 percent, to $126.45 in after-hours trading following the punitive damages award.

Johnson & Johnson spokeswoman Carol Goodrich said in a statement that the company was disappointed with yesterday's verdict but would not comment further until the punitive damages are announced.

In a statement, he said: 'For over 40 years, Johnson & Johnson has covered up the evidence of asbestos in their products'. She said she used Johnson & Johnson's talcum powder regularly, even up until the day she went in for cancer surgery.

'Every verdict against Johnson & Johnson in this court that has gone through the appeals process has been reversed and the multiple errors present in this trial were worse than those in the prior trials which have been reversed, ' she said. Six out of the 22 women represented in court have succumbed to ovarian cancer. After attorneys fees, the state of Missouri takes a whopping 50% of punitive damage awards and keeps the money for itself under this state law, which appears to apply to this type of punitive damage award. She even wrote a book to help others going through an ovarian cancer diagnosis.

Because of this, the women say, they developed ovarian cancer. This was the first trial to argue that talc in baby powder contains cancer-causing asbestos.

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The majority of the lawsuits that J&J faces involve claims that talc itself caused ovarian cancer, but a smaller number of cases allege that contaminated talc caused mesothelioma, a tissue cancer closely linked to asbestos exposure.

The company "rigged" the tests he said, adding that if one test showed asbestos was present, the samples would be sent to another lab that J&J knew would find different results.

The firm said it would appeal the verdict and described the proceedings as "unfair". Jurors in California previously ordered the company to pay $417 million, but J&J successfully appealed that decision.

The company now faces about 9,000 talc-cancer cases in state and federal court, according to published reports, with the bulk of state court cases in Missouri, New Jersey, and California, according to J&J's May 2018 quarterly report. Yesterday, a St. Louis jury awarded $4.7 billion to 22 women who were part of a class-action lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson.

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. Cramer, who at one point advised J&J to put a warning on its products, has become a frequent expert witness for women suing the company.