A Missouri jury on Thursday ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay a record $4.69 billion to 22 women who alleged the company’s talc-based products, including its baby powder, contain asbestos and caused them to develop ovarian cancer.The company is battling some 9,000 talc cases. J&J denies both that its talc products cause cancer and that they ever contained asbestos. It says decades of studies show its talc to be safe and has successfully overturned previous talc verdicts on technical legal grounds.
Thursday’s massive verdict was handed down in the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis. It was comprised of $550 million in compensatory damages and $4.14 billion in punitive damages.
J&J in a statement called the trial “fundamentally unfair” and said it would appeal the decision.
The jury’s decision followed more than five weeks of testimony by nearly a dozen experts on both sides.