Appeals Court Upholds Talc Cancer Verdict Against Johnson & Johnson

Victims of Johnson & Johnson’s dangerous talc-based baby powder won a major victory at the end of 2020 when the Eastern District Missouri Court of Appeals ruled that an earlier verdict against the company was valid. 

In July 2018, a St. Louis jury awarded nearly $4.7 billion to 22 plaintiffs who claimed they had developed ovarian cancer from exposure to asbestos in Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder after using the product for years. In the time since the jury verdict was issued, the case had been on hold because Johnson & Johnson appealed the decision, claiming that the trial was flawed. 

However, with the Missouri court’s recent ruling, the Missouri-based plaintiffs could soon recover some of the compensation the jury awarded them. While the court did rule in favor of the plaintiffs, they cut the verdict in half – reducing the dollar amount from $4.69 billion to $2.1 billion – because only five of the 22 plaintiffs in the 2018 trial were Missouri residents.

Ruling’s Potential Impact for Other Injured People

The ruling in Missouri is a hopeful sign for other people that Johnson & Johnson’s defective and dangerous baby powder injured them. Not only did the appeals court uphold the 2018 decision, but they also agreed with the opinion issued by the jury on how to calculate the appropriate level of compensation for victims of talcum baby powder. 

The jury decided on the nearly $4.7 billion verdict by multiplying Johnson & Johnson’s annual profit from talc-based baby powder ($70 million) by the number of years they had claimed the dangerous product did not contain asbestos (43). This amounted to $25 million in compensatory damages for each plaintiff, plus a total of $4.14 billion in punitive damages. 

According to news reports, the appeals court agreed that this high level of monetary damages was correct because of the “significant reprehensibility in defendants’ conduct,” finding that Johnson & Johnson put profits ahead of customer’s health and safety. The court decided to award $500 million in compensatory damages and over $1.6 billion in punitive damages to the Missouri-based plaintiffs.

The court also based the decision on the fact that plaintiffs suffered both economic and physical harm from the cancer and treatments needed to treat the condition, such as hysterectomies and chemotherapy. Additionally, the court said the multi-billion-dollar verdict was necessary to deter other major corporations from selling dangerous and defective products. 

The Missouri appeals court decision comes after an April 2020 victory for victims harmed by Johnson & Johnson’s talc products, where a district judge in New Jersey rejected the company’s request to block expert witnesses from testifying in claims against them. 

The New Jersey court decided it will allow experts to testify on issues of epidemiology, oncology, asbestos, and environmental health that ovarian cancer is causally connected to the genital use of products contaminated with asbestos. The witnesses can also provide expert testimony to show that Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder contains asbestos.

Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer

Johnson & Johnson is facing over 19,000 lawsuits from people who claim they developed cancer after using the company’s talcum powder because the product was contaminated with asbestos. 

Talc – a primary ingredient in Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder – often occurs naturally in the same areas as asbestos, which is a known cancer-causing agent. Deposits of the two minerals sometimes intertwine, which produces a considerable risk of cross-contamination when talc miners extract these deposits. 

Johnson & Johnson announced in May 2020 that they would stop selling their talc-based baby powder in the U.S. and Canada. However, they claimed that the move was based on a need to focus on their most popular products during the coronavirus pandemic. They continue to argue that their product is safe, and there is no link between their talcum powder and ovarian cancer, citing clinical evidence that their products do not contain asbestos.  

Nonetheless, investigations by Reuters and the New York Times claim the company knew the talc in their baby powder might contain carcinogenic asbestos, and they continued to sell it anyway without warning consumers of the possible risk.

What to Do If You Think Talcum Powder Has Harmed You

If you think Johnson’s & Johnson’s baby powder or other talc-based products have harmed you, it’s critical to see a doctor as soon as possible. These products have been connected to serious medical conditions like ovarian cancer. A physician can evaluate your injuries and help you get the medical treatment you need.

If you still have the product that you think harmed you, save both the product and its packaging, since this could serve as an important piece of evidence if you decide to file a claim. However, it’s also important to keep it in a safe place to help prevent others from mistakenly using this dangerous product and reduce the risk of it causing you or your family further damage.

It’s also vital to contact a trusted talc cancer lawyer right away. They can evaluate your case, explain your legal options, and help you fight for your rights and the full compensation you deserve.

Contact a Talc Cancer Lawyer Today for Help

If you are suffering from injuries caused by dangerous talc products, you might be eligible for significant compensation. The law firm of Wocl Leydon, LLC is here to help. Our compassionate and skilled talc cancer attorneys are experienced in helping victims like you seek maximum compensation for their injuries caused by dangerous and defective products. 

At Wocl Leydon, we understand how frightening and infuriating it is when a company that you thought you could trust sells you a product that hurts you. We’re prepared to help you hold these negligent companies accountable. 

Don’t wait a moment longer to stand up for your rights. Call a respected talc cancer lawyer right away. To get started, contact Wocl Leydon today by phone or fill out our quick online form to schedule your free consultation.