ST. LOUIS — The Missouri Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld a 2018 verdict against Johnson & Johnson that its talcum powder caused cancer in 22 women. But it also cut by more than half the original $4.69 billion judgement against the company, reducing it to $2.1 billion.
A St. Louis Circuit Court awarded a share of the damages to the 22 women who said Johnson & Johnson talcum powder caused their ovarian cancer and that the company failed warn to consumers about cancer risks from its products.
The Eastern District Court of Appeals, in an 83-page decision, on Tuesday agreed with the underlying St. Louis verdict, and noted that significant monetary damages were needed. "Because Defendants are large, multi-billion dollar corporations, we believe a large amount of punitive damages is necessary to have a deterrent effect in this case," the court wrote.
But the court chose to reduce the size of the verdict, saying 17 of the women should not have been included in the original verdict because they were not Missouri residents.
It also chastised Johnson & Johnson for the "significant reprehensibility" in its conduct.
"The harm suffered by Plaintiffs was physical, not just economic. Plaintiffs each developed and suffered from ovarian cancer. Plaintiffs underwent chemotherapy, hysterectomies, and countless other surgeries," the court wrote.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Johnson & Johnson argued that the 2018 trial “was a fundamentally flawed trial, grounded in a faulty presentation of the facts," and said it would pursue a review of the case to the Supreme Court of Missouri.
Mark Lanier, an attorney for the plaintiffs, told the Wall Street Journal that the the appellate court’s decision Tuesday “carefully holds companies responsible for reprehensible conduct, while recognizing limits of jurisdiction and punitive damages.”
More from the Business Journal
- Committee rolls out playbook to boost St. Louis' geotech industry
- Two of St. Louis' largest firms ink sponsorship deals for pro golf’s return to St. Louis
- How St. Louis companies can offer more than words to address racial justice
- This historic Metro East hotel is undergoing a $14M renovation
- What St. Louisans' recent Google searches say about the economy