Florida Justice Reform Institute calls on Johnson & Johnson to appeal $4.69 billion talc verdict

By Takesha Thomas | Jul 17, 2018

TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Justice Reform Institute says Johnson & Johnson should file an appeal after recently losing a $4.69 billion lawsuit in a St. Louis court over whether its talc powder products caused ovarian cancer. 

"This verdict is a perversion of our justice system," William Large, the institute's president, told the Florida Record. "There is no reputable scientific evidence linking talcum powder and cancer."

On July 12, jurors in St. Louis Circuit Court took just eight hours to deliberate before they found Johnson & Johnson negligent in a case filed by 22 women who claimed to have developed ovarian cancer as a result of using talc powder produced by the company. Jurors levied a total $4.14 billion in punitive damages and $550 million in compensatory damages. Six of those women died before the start of the trial. 

The trial and judgment are the first time a court has awarded damages for alleged asbestos in talc, according to a report in the St. Louis Record

William Large   Florida Justice Reform Institute

"This case should be appealed," Large said. "The appellate court should focus on the lack of a causal link between talcum powder and cancer."

Johnson & Johnson issued a statement after the trial, according to a Courtroom View Network report, calling the judgment unfair and pledged to challenge the verdict. 

"Sadly, I believe the number of these meritless lawsuits will only increase," Large said. "This has become the next generation of meritless lawsuits."

During the trial, defense attorneys contended the women had seen television advertising that convinced them their ovarian cancer had been caused by the use of talc. Attorneys for the defense also presented witness testimony from gynecological oncologists who said there was no relationship between the use of talc powder and ovarian cancer. 

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