Johnson & Johnson faces more than 38,000 lawsuits alleging that its talc products contain asbestos.
A New Jersey appeals court has quashed a $223.8 million (€213 million) verdict against Johnson & Johnson (J&J) that a jury had awarded to four plaintiffs who alleged they got cancer due to asbestos exposure in the company's talc powder products.
In a judgment handed down on Tuesday, the Superior Court of New Jersey’s appellate division found that the lower court judge should not have allowed some of the scientific expert testimony presented by the complainants during the trial.
The appeals court concluded that the specialists had not explained the facts or methods they used to support their belief that talc products had caused the plaintiffs’ cancers.
The three-judge panel therefore tossed the initial jury verdict and ordered a new trial.
Worldwide Vice President of Litigation at J&J said in a statement emailed to Euronews that the decision “resoundingly rejects the ‘junk science’ advanced by purported ‘experts’ paid by the mass tort asbestos bar.”
The firm faces more than 38,000 lawsuits alleging that its talc products contain asbestos and have led to cancers such as ovarian and mesothelioma, a type of cancer linked to asbestos exposure.
J&J has vowed to discontinue its talc-based baby powder globally in 2023, three years after ending its sales in the US and Canada.
A lawyer for the complainants, Denyse Clancy at Kazan Law Firm, did not respond to a request for comment.
J&J is separately suing one of the experts, Jacqueline Moline, over a research project she led in 2019. The study describes 33 cases of malignant tumours among people with no known asbestos exposure other than cosmetic talcum powder.
Moline has testified for complainants in more than 200 talc cancer cases.