A Missouri appeals court refused to toss out a $4.7 billion jury verdict against Johnson & Johnson over cancer claims linked to talc-based products including baby powder but agreed to cut the total payout to $2.1 billion to the women who sued the company.
In a unanimous 83-page opinion issued Tuesday, a three-judge panel said 2018 trial testimony by plaintiffs’ experts about the risk of asbestos exposure from talc-powder use was based on “reasonable methodology” and provided the St. Louis jury a legitimate basis for holding J&J liable for the cancers in almost two dozen women.
While the judges upheld $500 million in actual damages awarded to the women, they cut the punitive damages to about $1.6 billion from about $4 billion. That brought the total down to $2.1 billion. J&J, which denies its talc powder is tainted with asbestos, plans to appeal the court’s decision.