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Verdict Of $223.8 Million Against J&J In The Talc Cancer Lawsuit Overturned By The Court

Verdict Of $223.8 Million Against J&J In The Talc Cancer Lawsuit Overturned By The Court
Earlier this week, , a New Jersey appeals court overturned a jury's $223.8 million judgement against Johnson & Johnson in favour of four plaintiffs who contended that exposure to asbestos in the business's talc powder products caused them to acquire cancer.
A lower court judge should not have permitted part of the scientific expert testimony the plaintiffs gave to the jury during the trial, according to the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division.
The ruling "resoundingly rejects... the 'junk science' advanced by purported 'experts' paid by the mass tort asbestos bar," according to J&J Worldwide Vice President of Litigation Erik Haas. The business reiterated that its talc products are secure and free of asbestos.
There were no comments available from the plaintiffs.
Although that sum was automatically reduced to $186.5 million by state law, the jury in the case had ordered the company to pay $37.2 million in compensatory damages and $750 million in punitive damages.
A three-judge panel of the appeals court reversed the judgement and mandated a new trial after concluding that the trial court had not performed its "gatekeeping role" of determining whether the plaintiffs' experts' testimony was supported by reliable scientific evidence.
The judges came to the conclusion that three experts had not adequately supported their claims that the plaintiffs' cancer was caused by exposure to asbestos in talc products through the use of facts or methodologies.
One of those specialists, Jacqueline Moline, is being sued separately by J&J for a 2019 report that she co-authored. The choice made on Tuesday had nothing to do with that study.
In more than 200 talc cancer cases, Moline, who has testified for plaintiffs, has said that the action is an attempt to "intimidate" scientific experts and keep them from testifying against the business.
More than 38,000 lawsuits have been filed against J&J on the grounds that their talc products, such as Johnson's baby powder, may contain asbestos and have contributed to malignancies like ovarian cancer and mesothelioma, a disease linked to asbestos exposure.
The lawsuits have a mixed track record of success, but one of the biggest plaintiff victories was a $2.1 billion judgement given to 22 ovarian cancer patients.
The United States Supreme Court declined to review that verdict after an appellate court sustained it.
A $117 million verdict in the same New Jersey appeals court as well as a $120 million verdict in New York were recently overturned in favour of J&J.
The business's most recent victory comes after it failed twice in July to file tens of thousands of talc-related lawsuits in bankruptcy court, where it planned to settle them through a $8.9 billion settlement offer. It is contesting that decision.
Trials can now begin after being largely put on hold while J&J filed a petition with the bankruptcy court.
One trial that was permitted while the bankruptcy petition was active resulted in a $18.8 million award for a California man who was close to death.
According to J&J, the price tag for its talc-related judgements, settlements, and legal fees has topped $4.5 billion.
Due to an increase in litigation and "misinformation" over the safety of the talc product, the company discontinued marketing talc-based baby powder in favour of cornstarch-based goods.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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