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Johnson & Johnson Damages Halved To $2.12B By Court In Missouri But Verdict Stands

Johnson & Johnson Damages Halved To $2.12B By Court In Missouri But Verdict Stands

An appeals court in Missouri has lowered the damages awarded to women who claimed that Johnson & Johnson’s (NYSE: JNJ) baby powder caused their cancer diagnosis to $2.12 billion.

What Happened

Johnson & Johnson’s attempt at overturning the verdict in favor of 22 women and their families did not succeed at the Missouri Court of Appeals on Tuesday, but damages against the company were lowered from $4.69 billion, reported Reuters.

The court held that Johnson & Johnson and an affiliate had “worked tirelessly” to make sure that asbestos could not be detected in talc samples and also published articles that diminished the dangers posed by talc.

Calling Johnson & Johnson’s conduct outrageous, the court said, “there was significant reprehensibility in defendants’ conduct.”

Johnson & Johnson plans to appeal to the Missouri Supreme Court. A company spokesperson said, “We continue to believe this was a fundamentally flawed trial, grounded in a faulty presentation of the facts.”

Why It Matters

Reuter's breakdown of damages shows that Johnson & Johnson will have to pay $500 million of compensatory damages and $1.62 billion of punitive damages. 

The figures are significantly lower than $550 million in compensatory damages and $4.14 punitive damages imposed by a Missouri circuit court.

An investigation by Reuters in 2018 showed that Johnson & Johnson knew for decades that its talc was tainted with asbestos.

The company has discontinued the sale of its baby powder in the United States and Canada, as demand declines and it faces thousands of lawsuits. 

Price Action 

On Tuesday, Johnson and Johnson’s shares closed 0.37% lower at $142.86.


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