J&J hit with $4.7B verdict in St. Louis talcum powder-cancer case

A jury in St. Louis awarded $550 million in actual damages and $4.14 billion in punitive damages in a lawsuit against pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson, claiming its talcum powder caused ovarian cancer, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The lawsuit was filed by 22 women, who alleged the company's talc-based products, namely J&J's baby powder, caused them to develop ovarian cancer overtime because the powder contained asbestos. While the 22 women were aware of the asbestos in the products, they claim there was no warning about the dangers of asbestos.

On July 12, the jury awarded $25 million to each family who sued, including six plaintiffs who sued on behalf of relatives who died. Another $3.15 billion fine was levied against J&J, along with a $990,000 fine against Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc.

The $4.14 billion in punitive damages charge was calculated by taking the $70 million J&J earned from selling baby powder in 2017 multiplied  by the 43 years  that have lapsed since the company claimed baby powder didn't contain asbestos.

"We were just trying to find something they would feel," an unnamed female juror told The Post-Dispatch.  

Johnson & Johnson, which denies  its product contains asbestos, is "deeply disappointed in the verdict, which was the product of a fundamentally unfair process that allowed plaintiffs to present a group of 22 women, most of whom had no connection to Missouri, in a single case all alleging that they developed ovarian cancer," according to a company statement.

The company said it will appeal the award.

Over 9,000 cases have been filed against the company claiming its products cased ovarian cancer. The $4.7 billion fine is the highest the company has been asked to pay. 

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