John­son & John­son or­dered to pay nearly $4.7B to 22 plain­tiffs in tal­cum pow­der law­suit

The Star (St. Lucia) - - CLASSIFIED -

ASt. Louis jury awarded nearly $4.7 bil­lion in to­tal damages to 22 women and their fam­i­lies Thurs­day in the first case against John­son & John­son that fo­cused on as­bestos in tal­cum pow­der.

Their law­suit claimed the as­bestos in the prod­uct con­trib­uted to the women’s ovar­ian cancer.

One of the plain­tiffs, Gail Ing­ham, 73, of O'Fal­lon, Mo., told the St. Louis Post-Dis­patch that she was di­ag­nosed with stage-3 ovar­ian cancer in 1985 and un­der­went chemo­ther­apy treat­ments, surg­eries and drug treat­ments for a year be­fore be­ing de­clared cancer-free. Ing­ham, who used baby pow­der for decades, said she joined the law­suit be­cause women who use baby pow­der "need to know what's in there. They need to know what's go­ing on."

The jury an­nounced the $4.14 bil­lion award in puni­tive damages shortly af­ter award­ing $550 million in com­pen­satory damages af­ter a six-week trial in St. Louis Cir­cuit Court. The ver­dict marked the sixth-largest award re­lated to prod­uct de­fects in U.S. history, Bloomberg re­ported.

Six of the 22 plain­tiffs in the trial have died from ovar­ian cancer.

John­son & John­son called the ver­dict the re­sult of an un­fair process that al­lowed the women to sue the com­pany in Mis­souri de­spite most of them not liv­ing in the state, and said it would ap­peal, as it has in pre­vi­ous cases that found for women who sued the com­pany.

"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," spokes­woman Carol Goodrich said.

She said the case was over­whelmed with “prej­u­dice” be­cause each plain­tiff was awarded the same $25 million “ir­re­spec­tive of their in­di­vid­ual facts,” ac­cord­ing to Bloomberg.

“The mul­ti­ple er­rors present in this trial were worse than those in the prior tri­als which have been re­versed," Goodrich said, adding that ev­ery ver­dict against the com­pany in the par­tic­u­lar court that has gone through the ap­peals process has been re­versed.

Mark Lanier, lead coun­sel for the plain­tiffs, said in a state­ment that John­son & John­son had cov­ered up ev­i­dence of as­bestos in its prod­ucts for more than 40 years. As­bestos fibers and talc par­ti­cles were found in the ovar­ian tis­sues of many of the women, the plain­tiffs' lawyers said.

Med­i­cal ex­perts also tes­ti­fied dur­ing the trial that as­bestos, a known car­cino­gen, is in­ter­min­gled with min­eral talc, which is the pri­mary in­gre­di­ent in John­son & John­son's Baby Pow­der and Shower to Shower prod­ucts.

The com­pany has been sued by more than 9,000 women who claim its tal­cum pow­der con­trib­uted to their ovar­ian cancer.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Saint Lucia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.