Judge Reverses Another J&J Talc Verdict

02.11.2017 -

A court in the US state of California has reversed a verdict against drugmaker Johnson & Johnson in the ongoing litigation over whether the company’s talc productions can be linked to cancer.

The judgment just announced reverses an award of $417 million on behalf of a woman who argued that routine use of the company’s talc product in intimate applications caused her ovarian cancer. The court has ordered a new trial.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Maren Nelson said the evidence presented at a three-week trial did not support a verdict of that magnitude. The decision came just days after an appeals court in St. Louis reversed a separate $72 million verdict against J&J.

Alogether, the drugmaker is facing 4,800 talc lawsuits across the US.  Prior to the latest appeal, verdicts worth more than $700 million in damages had been pronounced.

Reviewing all of the evidence in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, the best that can be said is that there was (and is) an ongoing debate in the scientific and medical community about whether talc more probably than not causes ovarian cancer and thus giving rise to a duty to warn," Judge Nelson wrote. “Clear and convincing evidence of malice is lacking," she added.

The news agency Reuters said attorneys for the plaintiff plan to appeal the latest verdict reversal.

In the $72 million case, a panel ruled that because of a Supreme Court decision earlier this year, the St. Louis court did not have jurisdiction to handle a claim from an out-of-state plaintiff.