J&J's Talc Verdict Bid Rejected, Damages Reduced To $2.1B

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Johnson & Johnson's (J&J) bid to reverse a jury verdict over its talcum powder was rejected by the Missouri appeals court, but the damages award was reduced to $2.12 billion from $4.69 billion.

The initial verdict was given in July 2018 by a state court jury to a group of 22 women after finding that their baby powder and other talc products were the cause of increasing the risk of cancer, which they knew yet failed to warn consumers.

In the recent bid, J&J maintained that the trial was flawed, and the verdict should be overturned, but a panel of judges with the Missouri Court of Appeals rejected those arguments and upheld an award of $500 million in compensatory damages, along with $1.62 billion in punitive damages.

Last month, J&J decided to stop selling its talcum-based products in the U.S. and Canada due to declined consumer demand and misinformation about the safety of the products.

Nearly 19,000 talcum powder and shower-to-shower lawsuits are filed against J&J in courts nationwide, each raising similar claims about the presence of asbestos and the risk of cancer. Most of the lawsuits are consolidated under multidistrict litigation, MDL No. 2738, whereas some are pending in state courts in Pennsylvania. Lawsuits are also pending in a California coordinated proceeding as a part of Judicial Council Coordinated Proceeding No. 4877.

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