A jury has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $4.69 billion in a lawsuit filed by 22 women who believe they got ovarian cancer because of an ingredient in the company's baby powder product.
Over the past few years, Johnson & Johnson has been under fire with accusations that their talc-based products, such as baby powder, contain asbestos. The 22 women who have been awarded money claimed that the baby powder and asbestos led to them developing ovarian cancer. They blame Johnson & Johnson for not warning consumers of the possible cancer risks involved with using these specific products.
In the largest jury award of 2018, Johnson & Johnson (#JNJ) to pay $4.7 billion to mothers alleging that their baby powder resulted in ovarian cancer. For the time being, this decision remains a reminder that consumers everywhere require protection.https://t.co/7Lzj1VTF03— Sergei Lemberg, Esq. (@lemberglaw) July 26, 2018
$4.14 billion in punitive damages and $550 million in compensatory damages was awarded to the women. Sadly six of those affected have already passed away, but their families will receive the money. All of the women in the case were in the courtroom when the verdict was read, except one who was too ill to attend.
Johnson & Johnson has continually denied allegations that the use of any of their products leads to cancer. They have been bogged down with these accusations for years, with almost 9,000 active lawsuits right now. Even with the new verdict, the company maintains its products are safe to use, do not cause cancer or contain asbestos. J&J believes that the lawsuits stem from inconclusive research and no viable evidence has proven the link. Plus, even though asbestos used to be found in natural talc, it has been consistently removed from commercial talc products starting back in the 1970s.
While this is a record amount awarded in a lawsuit, it is far from over. Johnson & Johnson has made it very clear they will appeal the verdict, especially since not all of the women in the lawsuit have a connection to Missouri, the location at which the case was tried. They were all lumped into a single group of plaintiffs. The company believes grouping multiple women with no connection to jurisdiction is an unfair process in the legal system.
There have been several cases over the past five years where Johnson & Johnson has been told to pay sizable damages to the plaintiff. However, the company has appealed each time and to date has been very successful in the appeal process. This story is far from over, as more lawsuits loom and J&J stock continues to crumble admits the cancer controversy.