Published: Fri, July 13, 2018
Medical | By

Johnson & Johnson jury awards US$4.14b punitive damages over talc cancer

Johnson & Johnson jury awards US$4.14b punitive damages over talc cancer

This is a developing story, and updates will be added as events warrant.

A St. Louis jury has awarded almost $4.7 billion in damages to 22 women and their families after they claimed asbestos in Johnson & Johnson talcum powder caused their ovarian cancer. Ingham v. Johnson & Johnson, 1522-CC10417.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs said punitive damage awards are limited by state law to five times the amount of compensatory damages awarded and defense lawyers probably would file a motion to reduce the award.

"Or, put another way, four women out of 200".

The punitive damages are among the largest ever awarded in a product liability case, he said.

The claims rest on the fact that talc, a clay mineral, is often found in deposits alongside asbestos ore, which definitely is a cancer risk.

A previous ruling in 2017 by a California jury awarded $417m (£323.4m) to a woman who said she developed ovarian cancer after using the firm's products including baby powder.

Johnson and Johnson baby powder. Bicks asked. "Does that make common sense, when Johnson & Johnson is doing all this testing?" On Thursday, Lanier highlighted results he said showed asbestos both in talc mines and the baby powder itself.


J&J "will appeal till the cows come home, or until all the plaintiffs die", plaintiffs' lawyer Mark Lanier said in an interview Thursday. The court will decide where that money goes, but they have not yet determined the fate of that $4.14 billion.

The landmark trial is the first of its kind concerning claims that asbestos in J&J's talc causes ovarian cancer. However, there are experts who are still concerned about the safety of talc today, despite new asbestos-free formulas.

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 should pull talc from the market before causing further anguish, harm, and death from a bad disease'.

Johnson & Johnson has denied that its products contain asbestos and said it "remains confident" that they do not cause ovarian cancer. The other two are on appeal, facing the same challenges from J&J.

J&J says it will appeal the latest verdict, which it argues is "the product of a fundamentally unfair process".

The trial is one of many proceedings CVN has recorded in Missouri, California, and SC state courts as part of its extensive talc litigation coverage.

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