Thursday, May 6, 2021 - A Missouri Court of Appeals has already upheld a jury‘s decision when 22 women claimed using peritoneal talc for decades caused each of them to develop ovarian cancer. The appeals judge condemned Johnson & Johnson‘s corporate behavior in the strongest terms he could muster when stating "particularly reprehensible conduct on the part of defendants," ABC News reported. Appeals court judge Burleson wrote, "The evidence included that the company knew there was asbestos in products aimed at mothers and babies, knew of the potential harm and misrepresented the safety of these products for decades. Burleson‘s opinion is unlikely to be challenged as the science linking asbestos and ovarian cancer is increasingly solid. A Federal Judge held hearings in July of 2018, then deliberated for the next 6 months on the credibility of scientific experts from both sides that would be allowed to testify in future talcum powder cancer trials. Reuters reported that the hearings opened the door for more than 30,000 plaintiffs now suing the company. "The ruling by Wolfson will allow plaintiffs to present expert testimony that J&J‘s talc products can cause cancer, based on epidemiological studies. They will be allowed to testify that the link could be caused by contamination with asbestos and heavy metals." Visit talcum powder cancer lawsuit to learn more.
Of course, Johnson & Johnson likely will continue to parrot their defense that Johnson‘s Baby Powder talc is safe, pure, and asbestos free despite the FDA testing and finding that claim to be untrue. Also, it is unlikely that the science supporting the jury‘s verdict and billion-dollar punitive damages award will be heavily challenged, at least not now. Rather, Johnson & Johnson may focus on earning a new trial based on their constitutional rights to a fair trial having been violated. The Johnson & Johnson appeal may focus on the unconstitutionality of grouping 22 women together into one trial creating a mega-plaintiff that appeared much more damaged than if the cases had been heard one by one. Reuters reported: " According to its Supreme Court petition, the company‘s (J&J) defense was undermined by the consolidated proceeding, in which jurors heard emotional testimony from the most sympathetic plaintiffs and endured five hours of jury instructions on the laws of all of the plaintiffs‘ different home states. Each plaintiff had a different family health history and used different Johnson‘s talc products for differing periods. Each women‘s ovarian cancer diagnosis occurred at a different stage of their life. Johnson & Johnson‘s Supreme court petition claims that "a mass trial violates a defendant‘s due process rights; whether a punitive damages award that far exceeds compensatory damages is a due process violation; and whether the Missouri courts erred in concluding that out-of-state plaintiffs could establish jurisdiction merely by showing that a J&J talc product was packaged in Missouri by an unrelated company. "