July 12, 2018

Missouri jury awards $4.14 billion in punitive damages against Johnson & Johnson in talc case

Harris Martin (subscription required) reports that a jury in St. Louis has awarded $550 million in compensatory damages and $4.14 billion in punitive damages against Johnson & Johnson in a multi-plaintiff trial.  The 22 plaintiffs claim they developed ovarian cancer as a result of using J&J's Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower products.

Unlike this verdict we blogged about back in April, which involved claims of asbestos contamination, the theory in this case is that talc itself causes ovarian cancer.  A $62 million punitive damages award in a similar case was reversed by the Missouri Court of Appeals late last year on jurisdictional grounds.

The plaintiffs in this latest case are represented by Mark Lanier, who seems to be on something of a crusade against Johnson & Johnson.  He also represented the plaintiffs in the Texas hip-implant case against Johnson & Johnson that generated a $360 million punitive damages award, but was reversed by the Fifth Circuit due to Lanier's misconduct at trial.