This is a developing story, and updates will be added as events warrant.
St. Louis-Jurors Thursday slammed Johnson & Johnson with a $4.69 billion verdict, including more than $4.1 billion in punitives, for the role they concluded the company played in the ovarian cancer 22 women developed after years of using its talc-based products. Ingham v. Johnson & Johnson, 1522-CC10417.
The verdict is the largest trial award by far in a host of suits claiming the company's signature Baby Powder and Shower to Shower products cause cancer.
After the punitive damages were announced, plaintiffs, their family members and their lawyers gathered around the jurors, hugging them and thanking them.
"Or, put another way, four women out of 200".
The jury has yet to decide on punitive damages.
Six of the 22 plaintiffs in the trial have died from ovarian cancer.
As per the report, the company released a statement saying it is confident that its products do not contain asbestos and hence does not contribute to ovarian cancer in any way. Johnson & Johnson sought to protect the image of Baby Powder as "their sacred cow", he said.
A separate but related set of lawsuits suggest Johnson & Johnson's powder is contaminated with asbestos. A jury awarded almost $US4.7 billion in total damages to 22 women and their families who claimed asbestos in Johnson & Johnson talcum powder contributed to their ovarian cancer in the first case against the company that focused on asbestos in the powder.
Plaintiffs' lawyer Mark Lanier (left), said that Johnson & Johnson knew asbestos was in their products.
"Your voice is not just the voice of the community but the voice of the world", Lanier said. They need to know what's going on. It says that there have been worries for some years that using talcum powder on the genital area may increase the risk of ovarian cancer, but says this has not been proved by research and more studies are needed. Before Thursday's decision, the largest was a $1 billion award given to a sexual assault victim in Georgia. The company is facing more than 9,000 plaintiffs in cases involving body powders with talc, according to a regulatory document filed this spring. The company denies its products contain asbestos or that its powder causes cancer. The women claim that either the talc caused ovarian cancer or that the product's talc led to mesothelioma. "The company should pull talc from the market before causing further anguish, harm, and death from a bad disease". The company has faced legal challenges on the same issue before, which it is still appealing or contesting.
The firm said it would appeal the verdict and described the proceedings as "unfair".
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