Pharmaceutical and cosmetics giant Johnson & Johnson recently filed an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court in hopes of overturning a multi-billion dollar award handed down by a Missouri state court to nearly two dozen plaintiffs who claim they developed various forms of cancer from years of using the company's talc-based products. The move was expected by many legal experts, the latest in a series of appeals brought by Johnson & Johnson challenging what started out as a record-breaking $4.69 billion jury award to 22 plaintiffs and later reduced to $2.1 billion by the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Eastern District.
In its petition to the U.S. Supreme Court, Johnson & Johnson asserts that the company's right to due process was violated when the trial court allowed the 22 cases to be consolidated in a single trial, which essentially allowed the jury “to overlook significant weaknesses in individual plaintiffs' claims — and to infer causation from the number of plaintiffs before it.” Johnson & Johnson's petition went on to note that the verdict is “at odds with decades of independent scientific evaluations confirming Johnson's Baby Powder is safe, is not contaminated by asbestos and does not cause cancer.”
In their talcum powder lawsuit, the plaintiffs alleged that they developed various forms of cancer, including mesothelioma, from asbestos-contaminated talc used to make Baby Powder and Shower to Shower, two of the company's flagship products. At trial, attorneys for the plaintiffs presented damning company dating back to the 1970s which showed that corporate executives knew for decades about in-house testing which showed that the talc used to make Baby Powder and other products was contaminated with deadly asbestos fibers.
While talc itself does not contain asbestos, the two are both naturally occurring minerals which can be found in deposits on top of one another, which can lead to cross-contamination if companies sourcing and processing talc do not take reasonable precautions to ensure consumer safety. Exposure to asbestos is linked to developing mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of cancer that commonly affects the thin linings of tissue surrounding vital organs such as the lungs and heart, as well as the abdominal cavity.
The lawsuits brought by the Missouri plaintiffs are just some of the estimated 20,000 other such claims Johnson & Johnson faces in state and federal courts across the country. To date, Johnson & Johnson has settled very few cases, but recently revealed in filings with the SEC that it had set aside just under $4 billion for litigation expenses which could signal that the company may be preparing to settle hundreds if not thousands of cases.
Arizona Mesothelioma Lawyer
If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced Arizona mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help pay for your medical treatment to help you and your family live a more comfortable life.