New Jersey appeals court reversed the verdict of $117 million in a lawsuit that claimed a man developed mesothelioma due to the asbestos present in the talcum powder products of Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and Imerys Talc America.
Improper testimony and lack of evidence from the plaintiff's lawyers resulted in the dismissal of the verdict. According to the published panel opinion by the Appellate Division Judge Joseph L. Yannotti, the experts did not support the testimony acknowledged by a defense expert who claims that the talc used in the baby powder contains "non-asbestiform amphiboles."
It is one of the biggest victories for J&J and Imerys in litigation across the country, which claims that the company purposely used asbestos in the talc products causing cancer among the consumers. J&J even claimed that their talc products are safe by stating that it does not contain asbestos and does not cause cancer as per the scientific tests done for decades.
The plaintiffs filed a lawsuit under the New Jersey Products Liability Act against J&J and Imerys in December 2016, claiming that the company's talc products contain asbestos that contracted mesothelioma for them.
One of the plaintiffs' attorneys informed that they will appeal the case in the New Jersey Supreme Court, as the case was earlier tried in 2018 when the investigative journalist and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration provided scientific studies linking talcum powder usage to mesothelioma.
In April 2018, at the end of a more than two-month trial, the jury stated that the plaintiff's exposure to the asbestos present in the company's products caused his mesothelioma. He was even awarded $37 million as compensatory damages and $80 million in combined punitive damages. But a state appellate court overturned the award and ordered new trials in the case.
In May 2020, J&J stopped the sale of its baby powder in the U.S. and Canada as the demand for the products drastically declined due to the thousands of lawsuits claiming it has caused cancer.
All the asbestos-related lawsuits are consolidated under MDL No. 875, which was created in 1991 in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.