The trial was the largest test for J&J's talc defense to date and combined the claims of 22 women, six of whom have died.
Most of the women in the St. Louis trial used baby powder, but others used Shower-to-Shower, another of J&J's talc-based products. If a test showed the presence of asbestos, J&J sent it to a lab the company knew would produce different results, he told the jurors. Nationwide, Johnson & Johnson is fighting around 9,000 other talc cases.
The jury reached a unanimous verdict yesterday to award compensatory damages for 22 plaintiffs that averaged US$25 million apiece.
"Every verdict against Johnson & Johnson in this court that has gone through the appeals process has been reversed and the multiple errors present in this trial were worse than those in the prior trials which have been reversed", J&J added, saying that it would pursue all available appellate remedies.
The company did not immediately provide a statement on the total damages award, but earlier said it was disappointed with the jury's decision finding the company liable.
Its shares fell 1.9% following the ruling. Testing confirmed that the mineral talc in their Baby Powder and Shower to Shower products contained asbestos, and the same particles were discovered in numerous womens' ovarian tissues.
Although J&J faces the greatest legal exposure, it's not the only company to be targeted in talc powder litigation.
Johnson & Johnson, which is now battling some 9,000 legal cases involving its signature baby powder, said it was "deeply disappointed" and planned to appeal.
The company has, since then, been sued by thousands of women and in August 2017, it was ordered by a Los Angeles jury to pay damages of United States dollars 417 million to a hospital receptionist, who developed ovarian cancer after using Johnson's Baby Powder for decades. Another mesothelioma case in late May ended in a mistrial. "It's for women to find out what was in talc".
The verdict marked the sixth-largest award related to product defects in US history, Bloomberg reported. Others are from Texas, California, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Georgia. Numerous other women involved took the stand at trial to talk about their use of the products and how ovarian cancer affected their lives.
The punitive damages are among the largest ever awarded in a product liability case, he said.
J&J has successfully overturned talc verdicts in the past, with appeals courts pointing to a 2017 decision by the US Supreme Court that limits where personal injury lawsuits can be filed. The U.S. Supreme Court has said such punishment awards must be proportional to compensatory damage verdicts that underlie them. "J&J has a good shot at knocking it down".
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.