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Johnson & Johnson's appeal of $2.12 billion 'cancer verdict' rejected by Missouri Supreme Court
The Missouri Supreme Court rejected Johnson & Johnson's appeal of a ruling by the Missouri Court of Appeals awarding $2.12 billion damages to women who blamed the company's asbestos-tainted products for their ovarian cancer.
The New Brunswick, New Jersey-based firm called the verdict a product of fundamentally flawed trial, grounded in a faulty presentation of the facts and vowed to elevate the case to the US Supreme Court.
Johnson & Johnson insists that there were decades of independent scientific evaluations that found their product safe, asbestos-free, and not cancer-causing.
In July 2018, a jury ruled that Johnson & Johnson was liable $4.69 billion to the complainants.
The Missouri Court of Appeals upheld the jury verdict on June 23 but reduced the payout to $2.12 billion after dismissing claims by 22 plaintiffs.
It said that it may be inferred from evidence that the company disregarded consumer safety for profit.
Kevin Parker, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said that Johnson & Johnson should accept the verdict of the jury and the appellate court and compensate the victims.
Johnson & Johnson said it would set aside a $2.1 billion reserve for the verdict.
The company, which said that it would stop selling its Baby Powder talc in the US and Canada, revealed that it faces over 21,800 lawsuits claiming that its talc products contain asbestos, a known carcinogen.
Johnson & Johnson's baby powder was intensely scrutinized for safety after a 2018 Reuters investigative report said that it knew for decades that about the asbestos contamination of its talc.
Evidence showed that from at least 1971 to the early 2000s,
Johnson & Johnson's raw talc and finished powders have tested positive for small amounts of asbestos.