Ingham v. Johnson & Johnson
Ingham v. Johnson & Johnson (Missouri Court of Appeals – Eastern District, June 23, 2020): A Missouri appellate court upheld a judgment for persons claiming injuries caused by talc powder products manufactured by Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies Inc. (JJCI) and its parent company Johnson & Johnson (J&J). Plaintiffs argued that they developed ovarian cancer as a result of continued use of JJCI’s talc powder products. A jury awarded each plaintiff $25 million in actual damages (for a total of $550 million) plus $4.14 billion in punitive damages. The appellate court affirmed the trial court’s ruling in part. It reduced: (1) actual damages (based a lack of jurisdiction for certain parties); and (2) punitive damages to $900 million to JJCI and approximately $715 million for J&J, despite arguments by the defendants that punitive damages were unwarranted. Plaintiffs’ presented evidence such that a reasonable jury could have concluded the defendants “disregarded the safety of consumers despite their knowledge the talc in the Products caused ovarian cancer.” Therefore, they met the state’s punitive damages standard showing defendants “engaged in outrageous conduct because of an evil motive or reckless indifference.” Read the decision here.
View all cases in the Judicial Trends in Public Health – July 15, 2020.