Missouri Supreme Court declines to review billion-dollar award against Johnson & Johnson baby powder

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Juliette Fairley of the St. Louis Record reports on the Missouri Supreme Court’s decision not to review a $2 billion verdict.

This article was originally published by the St. Louis Record.

The Supreme Court of Missouri declined to hear Johnson & Johnson’s petition for review of an a more than $2 billion damage award to some 22 women who allege asbestos in talc powder afflicted them with ovarian cancer.

“This is overtly wrong on its face,” said Tiger Joyce, president of the American Tort Reform Association (ATRA). “The court is diminished by its failure to take up this case.”

As previously reported in the St. Louis Record, lawyers for Johnson & Johnson argued that many of the plaintiffs were from out of state and their cases did not belong in Missouri. 

Trial was held in June and July 2018 and in the end, the St. Louis City Circuit Court awarded a total of $550 million in compensation to the women, six of whom died before the trial began. In those cases, awards were given to the spouses or closest relatives of the deceased plaintiffs.

In addition, punitive damages separate from the plaintiff compensation totaling $4.1 billion was levied to punish the company, found by the jury to be liable for negligence – which was later cut in half.

“We thought that the legal issues were overwhelming and that the highest court of the state would take it up,” Joyce told the St. Louis Record. “We made it clear in our brief with the personal jurisdiction issue and all these out of state plaintiffs with little or no nexus to Missouri that this is a case that should be addressed.”

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