Johnson & Johnson received several hard blows last week when a Missouri appellate panel didn’t toss a $4.69 billion verdict against the company in a case brought by 22 women who claimed J&J’s talc was contaminated with asbestos and caused them to develop ovarian cancer. While the panel reduced the verdict by nearly $2.6 billion, it also rejected many of Johnson & Johnson’s arguments, Law360 reported.
For starters, the three-judge panel ruled that St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Rex Burlison was in the right when he allowed the multiple plaintiffs — some of whom were from out of state — to proceed in one trial. They also rejected J&J’s bid to disregard the women’s scientific experts. Finding that J&J was, indeed, aware that its talc could contain asbestos but sold it to consumers anyway, the panel found that the ratio of punitive damages was warranted.
“We find the punitive damages awards assessed against defendants, as adjusted, are not grossly excessive considering defendants’ actions of knowingly selling products that contained asbestos to consumers,” the panel said.
J&J was thrown a bone on its claim that its subsidiary, J&J Consumer Inc., should suffer less of the damages than it was charged. The panel agreed and slashed the overall verdict accordingly. The new adjusted verdict now accounts for compensatory damages of $500 million for J&J Consumer and $125 million for Johnson & Johnson jointly and severally with J&J Consumer. As for punitive damage, J&J Consumer kept its $900 million burden while Johnson & Johnson saw its $3.15 billion verdict reduced to $715.9 million.
Beasley Allen lawyers Ted Meadows and Leigh O’Dell are heading up the team handling claims of ovarian cancer linked to talcum powder use for feminine hygiene. Our attorneys are also handling mesothelioma claims. They are looking at cases of industrial, occupational and secondary asbestos exposure resulting in lung cancer or mesothelioma as well as claims of asbestos-related talc products linked to mesothelioma.