Johnson & Johnson ordered to pay $4.69 billion damages in talc cancer case

Plaintiff Gail Ingham, foreground, of O'Fallon, Missouri., stands outside the civil courthouse with attorneys Lee Cirsch, from left, Eric Holland and Mark Lanier following a verdict against health care giant Johnson & Johnson on July 12, 2018, in St. Louis. (Christian Gooden/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)
Updated 13 July 2018
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Johnson & Johnson ordered to pay $4.69 billion damages in talc cancer case

  • A jury composed of six men and six women in St. Louis, Missouri, ruled in favor of the women after a six-week trial and eight hours of deliberation.
  • “For over 40 years, Johnson & Johnson has covered up the evidence of asbestos in their products,” the victims’ lawyer, Mark Lanier, said in a statement.

WASHINGTON: US pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson was Thursday ordered to pay out $4.69 billion in damages in a lawsuit representing 22 women and their families who alleged a talc sold by the company contained asbestos and caused them to suffer cancer.
It is the latest twist in a matter that has seen several thousand lawsuits filed against J&J.
According to the victims’ lawyer, Mark Lanier, a jury composed of six men and six women in St. Louis, Missouri, ruled in favor of the women after a six-week trial and eight hours of deliberation. The damages include $550 million in compensation and over $4.1 billion in punitive damages.
The plaintiffs said using the talc for personal hygiene had caused ovarian cancer.
“For over 40 years, Johnson & Johnson has covered up the evidence of asbestos in their products,” Lanier said in a statement.
“We hope this verdict will get the attention of the J&J board and that it will lead them to better inform the medical community and the public about the connection between asbestos, talc, and ovarian cancer,” he said, calling for talc to be pulled from the market.
J&J said it was “deeply disappointed in the verdict.”
In a statement, it described the trial as “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.”
“The result of the verdict, which awarded the exact same amounts to all plaintiffs 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.”
The company said its talc does not contain asbestos or cause ovarian cancer, and vowed it would “pursue all available appellate remedies.”
Several similar trials have already taken place, with a Los Angeles appeals court last October dismissing a $417 million verdict against J&J, saying the complainant’s arguments were insufficient and vague.


Trump blames bad Russia ties on FBI ‘witch hunt’

Updated 16 min 17 sec ago
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Trump blames bad Russia ties on FBI ‘witch hunt’

  • ‘Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of US foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!’
  • US special prosecutor Robert Mueller last week indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers accused of hacking computer servers belonging to Trump’s 2016 election rival Hillary Clinton

HELSINKI: US President Donald Trump set the scene for his summit with Vladimir Putin on Monday by blaming the chill in relations with Moscow on the investigation into Russian interference in his election victory.
“Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of US foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!” Trump tweeted, referring to US special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s probe.

Last week, Mueller indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers accused of hacking computer servers belonging to Trump’s 2016 election rival Hillary Clinton and her Democratic Party, then leaking private emails to damage her campaign.
Trump has furiously denied his campaign colluded in the alleged interference, and has generally denounced the special investigation as a “witch hunt” promoted by his enemies to delegitimize his victory.
At the same time, the US leader has promised to bring up the issue on Monday at his summit with Putin in Helsinki.