J&J Awards $4.14 Billion Punitive Damages over Talc Cancer

Johnson's baby powder remains stocked at a supermarket shelf on August 22, 2017 in Alhambra, California, where a Los Angeles jury on August 21 ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay a record $417 million to a woman in hospital who sued the company. A California jury on August 21, 2017 ordered drugmaker Johnson & Johnson to pay 417 million dollars to a woman who claimed she developed terminal ovarian cancer after using the company's talc-based products.The case was one of thousands of lawsuits brought nationwide alleging the company failed to warn consumers of the risk of cancer from talc in its products. / AFP PHOTO / FREDERIC J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

Enterprise Television- J&J Awards $4.14 Billion Punitive Damages over Talc Cancer

Johnson & Johnson fell after a jury ordered the company to pay $4.69 billion to women who claimed asbestos in the company’s talc products caused them to develop ovarian cancer, marking the sixth-largest product-defect verdict in US history.

The award of $4.14 billion in punitive damages and $550 million to compensate 22 women and their families for their losses sent shares of the health-care and consumer-products giant down 1.9 per cent to $125.28 at 8:03 am in pre-market trading on Friday in New York.

The verdict on Thursday by jurors in St. Louis city court came in the first test of plaintiffs’ claims of an asbestos-ovarian cancer link in use of J&J’s iconic baby powder. The asbestos cases are part of more than 9 000 claims alleging that J&J’s talc products cause cancer.

A spokeswoman, Carol Goodrich, said the company will appeal in an email “was the product of a fundamentally unfair process that allowed plaintiffs to present a group of 22 women, most of whom had no connection to Missouri, in a single case all alleging that they developed ovarian cancer.’’

Goodrich added that each plaintiff and her family members were awarded $25 million for their losses “irrespective of their individual facts, and differences in applicable law, reflects that the evidence in the case was simply overwhelmed by the prejudice of this type of proceeding.’’

According to Credit Suisse analyst Vamil Divan, Investors are likely to increase their focus on the talc cases on the heels of the large award for the plaintiffs, who has an outperform rating on the company’s shares.

However, Divan said he is confident J&J can absorb “even relatively large payments” to resolve the cases.