“A Missouri jury on Thursday ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay a record $4.69 billion to 22 women who alleged the company’s talc-based products, including its baby powder, contain asbestos and caused them to develop ovarian cancer.
The verdict is the largest J&J has faced to date over allegations that its talc-based products cause cancer.
The company is battling some 9,000 talc cases. J&J denies both that its talc products cause cancer and that they ever contained asbestos. It says decades of studies show its talc to be safe and has successfully overturned previous talc verdicts on technical legal grounds.
Thursday’s massive verdict, handed down in the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis, was comprised of $550 million in compensatory damages and $4.14 billion in punitive damages, according to an online broadcast of the trial by Courtroom View Network.
J&J in a statement called the trial “fundamentally unfair” and said it would appeal the decision.”
For such a high punitive fine, there must have been credible evidence that Johnson & Johnson not only knew of the asbestos contamination in their products, but also that this contamination carried with it a possible cancer risk. No doubt this verdict will be appealed, but it sends a rare message to these large corporations that think they can get away with poisoning their customers. Hopefully, Monsanto will be next on the list.