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Court Upholds Baby Powder Cancer Case Verdict. $2 Billion Damages

Last Updated on December 16, 2022 by Lawsuit Informer
Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky Testifies In Baby Powder Court Case Alex Gorsky, chief executive officer of Johnson & Johnson, exits after testifying at Middlesex County Superior Court in New Brunswick, New Jersey, U.S., on Monday, Jan. 27, 2020. Health products giant Johnson & Johnson is facing nearly 17,000 lawsuits contending that asbestos-tainted, talc-based personal hygiene products caused women’s ovarian cancers and other malignancies. Photographer: Lucas Jackson/Reuters/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A Missouri court has rejected Johnson & Johnson’s move to reverse a jury decision in a baby powder cancer case verdict. The lawsuit were brought by women who say the company’s J&J baby powder caused their ovarian cancer.

Johnson & Johnson now faces nearly 20,000 lawsuits over its talc products and the company’s efforts to hide recurring problems with asbestos contamination.

Ruling On The Baby Powder Cancer Case Supports Women’s Claims J&J Talc Products Caused Ovarian Cancer

The Eastern District Missouri Court of Appeals has upheld a jury verdict in favor of ovarian cancer patients who claim Johnson & Johnson knew about possible asbestos contamination in their talc products for decades and deliberately hid the risks from consumers.

The presence of asbestos fibers in talc products has been shown to cause a number of cancers, including ovarian cancer and mesothelioma. J&J talc products, including J&J baby powder, have repeatedly tested positive for asbestos contamination.

The Missouri court ordered J&J to pay $2.1 billion in damages, including $500 million in compensatory damages and $1.62 billion in punitive damages. The court adjusted the original damages amount from the July 2018 verdict, set at $4.69 billion, as some of the plaintiffs were not Missouri residents. The $4.69 billion verdict was a record-setting award at the time.

The original baby powder cancer case was brought by 22 women who used J&J baby powder regularly for a number of years before developing ovarian cancer. Some of the plaintiffs didn’t live to see the recent verdict.

“I sincerely believe that Johnson & Johnson took my mother’s life,” said Marvin Salter, the son of one of the plaintiffs who passed away before the trial. “We believed in the company, and the product specifically… It was a staple in our house and a necessary part of our hygienic routine.” “Johnson & Johnson has yet to take ownership for what they have done, and they have yet to take one step to make amends to all of us whose lives have been turned upside down because we trusted in this company and they said their product was safe,” he added.

The lead lawyer for plaintiffs said the decision is “a clarion call for J&J to try and find a good way to resolve the cases for the people who have been hurt.”

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Court Says Johnson & Johnson “Engaged In Outrageous Conduct"

Johnson & Johnson Voluntarily Recalls Baby Powder For Asbestos Contamination SAN ANSELMO, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 18: Containers of Johnson’s baby powder made by Johnson and Johnson sits on a shelf at Jack’s Drug Store on October 18, 2019 in San Anselmo, California. Johnson & Johnson, the maker of Johnson’s baby powder, announced a voluntary recall of 33,000 bottles of baby powder after federal regulators found trace amounts of asbestos in a single bottle of the product. (Photo Illustration by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The Missouri court found that J&J was aware as early as 1971 that its talc products were likely contaminated with asbestos. Internal documents revealed during the 2018 trial and others show that J&J talc products tested positive for asbestos. Rather than informing consumers, the company then changed testing protocols to ensure their talc products would pass testing.

According to the recent verdict, “This trial showed clear and convincing evidence that defendants engaged in conduct that was outrageous because of evil motive or reckless indifference.” “Motivated by profits, defendants disregarded the safety of consumers, despite the knowledge that talc in their products caused ovarian cancer,” the court added.

J&J is facing nearly 20,000 other lawsuits related to asbestos contamination in its talc products. While many claim J&J products caused consumers to develop ovarian cancer, many are related to mesothelioma and other forms of cancers.


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