In a stunning rebuff of a major American corporation, the Missouri Supreme Court refused to review an asbestos lawsuit that ended in a $2.1 billion verdict against Johnson & Johnson. The original case had been filed by 22 women and their spouses who accused the corporate giant of knowingly exposing the women to asbestos in their baby powder product. This exposure led to their eventual diagnosis with ovarian cancer.
Johnson & Johnson May Take Asbestos Case to U.S. Supreme Court
It has long been known that asbestos causes malignant mesothelioma and other cancers, and it is this knowledge that was at the heart of the 2018 lawsuit. In that case, a Missouri jury heard testimony that Johnson & Johnson had failed to warn of the dangers of asbestos contamination in their talc-based baby powder, and awarded $25 million in compensatory damages to each woman.
That award, which included punitive damages, was cut in half by the Missouri Court of Appeals, but the decision was left in place. This week Johnson & Johnson asked the state’s supreme court to review the verdict, but the court refused, leaving the verdict in place. A representative for the women and their families issued a statement saying that the court’s decision was “a loud message alerting the world to the dangers of talc.“
Court of Appeals Found “Significant Reprehensibility”
When the asbestos contamination case was initially appealed, the Missouri Court of Appeals reviewed the lawsuit’s details and decided that the evidence supported a reasonable inference that Johnson & Johnson had “disregarded the safety of consumers.” They pointed to documents supporting the company’s knowledge of asbestos in the raw talc they were using and the risks of both mesothelioma and ovarian cancer. The court said that the company’s conduct showed “significant reprehensibility.”
Though the company has continued to deny the presence of asbestos as it has faced lawsuits from mesothelioma victims and ovarian cancer victims, it has also announced that it will discontinue sales of the product in North America.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma or ovarian cancer after exposure to asbestos, the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net can help. Contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.