BUSINESS Baby Powder Cancer Controversy: J&J Ordered to Pay $4.14 Billion In Damages
In what is now the sixth largest settlement in United States history, J&J, makers of Johnson baby powder and a range of other products have been made to pay a whopping $4.14 Billion to plaintiffs who claimed that the asbestos in the talc products of the company gave them Ovarian cancer.
The company also have to pay $550 Million in settlement costs to the 22 women and their families who were directly affected by this.
J&J have stated that they will fight back and will not take the verdict laying low. A spokeswoman for the company, Carol Goodrich, said that the verdict “was the product of a fundamentally unfair process that allowed plaintiffs to present a group of 22 women, most of whom had no connection to Missouri, in a single case all alleging that they developed ovarian cancer,’’
Goodrich added: “That each plaintiff and her family members were awarded $25 million for their losses irrespective of their individual facts, and differences in applicable law, reflects that the evidence in the case was simply overwhelmed by the prejudice of this type of proceeding,’’
Goodrich argued that the company’s products don’t contain asbestos and that they in no way cause ovarian cancer. She also expressed confidence that the verdict would be reversed, “The multiple errors present in this trial were worse than those in the prior trials which have been reversed.”
On the other side of things, the plaintiff lawyer, Mark Lanier said that J&J would continue to appeal; “[J&J] will appeal till the cows come home, or until all the plaintiffs die,”
There are worries, however, that the jury’s decision that the asbestos in the baby powder caused the women’s ovarian cancer is a worrying precedent.
According to Jean Eggen, a Widener University law professor who teaches about mass-tort cases, “This was a new theory and the jury lined up behind it,
“That may be a harbinger of things to come and there are many more ovarian cancer cases than asbestos cases tied to the powder.”