A St. Louis jury, after 8 hours of rumination, reached a verdict against Johnson & Johnson’s (NYSE: JNJ) on Thursday, awarding USD 4.69 Billion to 22 women who sued the Companyover claims that the Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder contained asbestos which contributed to their ovarian cancer. The money awarded to the women includes USD 550 Million in compensatory damages and USD 4.14 Billion in punitive damages.
Johnson & Johnson claimed that the verdict was the result of an unfair process due to the fact that the women were able to sue the Company in Missouri, despite a majority of them living in another state. The Company has announced that it will be appealing the decision.
"Johnson & Johnson remains confident that its products do not contain asbestos and do not cause ovarian cancer and intends to pursue all available appellate remedies," said Johnson & Johnson in a press release
However, medical experts testified during the trial, stating that asbestos is intermingled with mineral talc, which is the primary ingredient in Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower products. Lawyers of plaintiffs said asbestos fibers and particles were discovered in ovarian tissues of many of the women.
The Company has been sued by over 9,000 women who claimed talcum powder contributed to their ovarian cancer. Carol Goodrich, a spokeswoman for Johnson & Johnson, said the case decision was influenced by prejudice when so many plaintiffs are allowed to sue the Company at one time.
"Every verdict against Johnson & Johnson in this court that has gone through the appeals process has been reversed and the multiple errors present in this trial were worse than those in the prior trials which have been reversed," she said.
Six of the 22 plaintiffs in the latest trial have died from ovarian cancer. The decision to rule against Johnson & Johnson makes it the largest verdict against the Company, which has been around for over a century.