Missouri Supreme Court Denies Review of $2.11 Billion Talc-Ovarian Cancer Ruling

The Supreme Court of the State of Missouri has denied an effort by Johnson & Johnson’s legal counsel to seek reconsideration of a state appellate court’s recent opinion that upheld $2.11 billion in punitive and compensatory damages against the company and its affiliate in findings that the company’s asbestos-contaminated, talc-based baby powder caused the ovarian cancer of 20 plaintiffs.

“The trial jury sent a loud message alerting the world to the cancer dangers of asbestos talc. Now J&J has pulled the product, and the message has been confirmed through each level of appeal” said Mark Lanier, founder of The Lanier Law Firm and counsel for the plaintiffs in the July 2018 trial. “While we applaud J&J’s decision to pull the product, much more needs to be done to provide justice for victims both now, and in the future.  Women’s lives matter”

“The appellate court carefully considered the instructions and verdict rendered at the trial court, and the resulting opinion presented a fair and reasonable resolution of the claims,” said the firm’s Kevin Parker. “Based on this decision it is clear the Johnson & Johnson should accept the findings of the jury and the appellate court and move forward with proper compensation to the victims of their baby powder products.”

In late June of this year the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Eastern District unanimously upheld the jury’s finding that J&J engaged in “reprehensible conduct” by manufacturing and selling asbestos-containing talcum powder products over the course of many decades.  While slicing the $4.69 billion in damages awarded by the trial court jury, and disallowing damages to two of the 22 plaintiffs on jurisdictional grounds, the court stated that The Lanier Law Firm trial team “proved with convincing clarity that Defendants engaged in outrageous conduct because of an evil motive or reckless indifference.”

Former Attorney General John Ashcroft, a member of the appellate team, stated: “The Missouri Court of Appeals gave this case very careful review. The Missouri Supreme Court then denied further consideration. Three levels of the Missouri judiciary have concluded that, based on the evidence, the jury reached a just verdict in this case.”

The plaintiffs were represented in the appellate process by Kevin Parker of the Lanier Law Firm, assisted on the brief by Mark Lanier, Ken Starr, Natalie Armour, Benjamin Major, and Megan Waida. Co-counsel included Eric Holland and Patrick Dowd of Holland Law Firm LLC, and John Torbitzky of Behr McCarter & Potter PC.