Johnson & Johnson has garnered significant support in its quest to challenge a $ 2.1 billion verdict on allegations that its talcum powder is cancer-causing.
The US Chamber of Commerce and other business groups on Monday demanded that the Supreme Court review the verdict in an effort to consolidate the 22 plaintiffs’ cases, and J&J was subsequently asked to pay damages.
In a 2018 trial, a Missouri state jury ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $ 4.69 billion after hearing combined lawsuits from 22 women who claimed the company’s talcum powder caused ovarian cancer. Last summer, the Court of Appeals for the Eastern District of Missouri overturned the verdict to $ 2.1 billion.
After J&J was unable to overturn the verdict on appeal, she decided to refer the matter to the Supreme Court. The verdict was increased to $ 2.5 billion with interest, the SEC said in a recent annual report.
Combining nearly two dozen testimonials from plaintiffs in one case put J&J at a huge disadvantage because it lent excessive emotional weight to the process and made it impossible for the company to consider claims on an individual basis, business representatives wrote. a motion to a high court.
RELATED: Johnson & Johnson Bills Potential $ 4 Billion Talc Account As Tens of Thousands of Lawsuits Accumulate
In order to hear this from the petitioners, the jury was subjected to an “emotional flurry” when the plaintiffs or their surviving family members elaborated on their fight against cancer. They wrote that each of these plaintiffs placed full blame on Johnson & Johnson’s products, which could jeopardize the jury’s ability to make an objective decision.
Worse yet, this repetition seems to create evidence of causation, creating a false cohort of people who seem to share only two things: product use and illness, ”the petitioners said.
J&J, for its part, wrote in a petition to the Supreme Court that Missouri’s verdict “is at odds with decades of independent scientific assessments that Johnson’s baby powder is safe, asbestos-free and does not cause cancer.” The company also referred to “numerous legal errors” and “misrepresentation of facts” in its petition.
RELATED: J&J Moving Towards 1,000 Talc Claims Over $ 100 Million: Bloomberg
During the 2018 trial, the court found that the plaintiffs “have convincingly proven that the defendants committed outrageous behavior out of malice or reckless indifference.”
However, there is no certainty that the Supreme Court will handle this case. According to the US government, of the 7,000 cases that must be heard each year, the Supreme Court hears between 100 and 150 cases.
Plaintiffs’ attorney Kevin Parker said in November that the appellate court “carefully considered the instructions and the verdict given in the trial court, and the final opinion presented a fair and reasonable decision of the claims.” He urged J&J to accept the verdict and issue compensation.
Meanwhile, J&J is still facing roughly 25,000 talc lawsuits, the drugmaker said in an annual SEC report in February.