Johnson & Johnson told to pay $4.7bn in powder case

14 July, 2018, 03:59 | Author: Lillian Steele
  • Plaintiff Gail Ingham foreground stands outside the civil courthouse with attorneys Lee Cirsch Eric Holland and Mark Lanier. A jury awarded nearly $US4.7 billion in total damages to 22 women and their families who claimed asbestos in Johnso

Aside from ovarian cancer lawsuits, jurors have hit the company with verdicts in mesothelioma cases in recent months as well.

"J&J has strong arguments, but unless they get to certify this case to the U.S. Supreme Court, which are very long odds, this decision is likely to stand", said Lars Noah, a law professor at the University of Florida.

During closing arguments, Johnson & Johnson lawyer Peter Bicks said the company for years has exceeded industry standards in testing talcum powder for asbestos and cited several scientific studies and conclusions by United States government agencies that he said found the company's products didn't contain asbestos and were safe. Johnson & Johnson says they're "deeply disappointed in the verdict, which was the product of a fundamentally unfair process".

Johnson & Johnson called the verdict the result of an unfair process that allowed the women to sue the company in Missouri despite a lot of them not living in the state, and said it would appeal - as it has in previous cases that found for women who sued the company.

"The evidence in the case was simply overwhelmed by the prejudice of this type of proceeding", the company said in a statement. The company said it remained confident that its products do not contain asbestos or cause cancer. Jurors in California previously ordered the company to pay $417 million, but J&J successfully appealed that decision.

Roberts said she began using Johnson & Johnson powder products as a teen for feminine hygiene purposes and was diagnosed with cancer in 2014. In a press release, he said he hoped the verdict would bring attention to the alleged dangers of asbestos-containing talcum powder.

Fiona Osgun, health information manager at Cancer Research UK, added: "Scientists are studying the link between women using talcum powder on their genitals and ovarian cancer and so far the evidence doesn't give a clear picture".

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

Thursday's verdict is the largest to date arising from lawsuits alleging talc-based products like J&J's baby powder have caused cancer.

Mark Lanier, the Houston-based lawyer for the plaintiffs, presented jurors with internal company documents revealing Johnson & Johnson knew of the asbestos in its products and failed to warn consumers.

However, a judge later overturned that verdict and several other legal challenges by J&J are yet to be decided. "The multiple errors present in this trial were worse than those in the prior trials which have been reversed".

The case is linked to more than 9,000 claims that its products are linked to ovarian cancer.

They said they later developed ovarian cancer. Asbestos, a well-known cancer-causing agent, is often mined near talc. For example, Colgate Palmolive faces 199 suits involving the Cashmere Bouquet powder it marketed until 1996, according to its latest quarterly report.

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