Johnson & Johnson implored the Missouri Court of Appeals to toss a $4.69 billion verdict awarded to 22 women who say the company’s talcum powders were contaminated with asbestos and caused them to develop ovarian cancer. The appeals court refused, finding the plaintiffs proved that J&J knew that its talc could become contaminated with the known carcinogen but refused to warn consumers. However, the court did reduce the damages to $2.12 billion.
“Plaintiffs proved with convincing clarity that defendants engaged in outrageous conduct because of an evil motive or reckless indifference. There was significant reprehensibility in defendants’ conduct,” the court said.
The consumer health care giant is refusing to give up the fight, saying it will appeal to the Missouri Supreme Court.
Johnson & Johnson faces more than 19,000 lawsuits alleging its talc was contaminated with asbestos and contributed to consumers’ cancer diagnoses. J&J has repeatedly denied those claims. But a 2018 Reuters investigative report revealed documents that showed the company was aware that its talc could become contaminated with asbestos as far back as the 1970s.
On Oct. 18, 2019, Johnson & Johnson recalled thousands of bottles of its iconic Johnson’s Baby Powder after testing by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revealed traces of asbestos in the powder. In May 2020, J&J announced it would stop selling its baby powder in the U.S. and Canada due to cancer claims and mounting litigation.
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.