A California judge has reversed the $417 million verdict handed down in the latest talcum powder lawsuit trial.

Cancer Patients Receiving Chemotherapy

Labeling a jury's award of $417 million in damages as "excessive," a Judge for the Los Angeles Superior Court has reversed the latest talcum powder verdict, granting Johnson & Johnson's request for a new trial.

As Reuters reports, Judge Maren Nelson's October 23 decision may end up being a major blow to nearly 5,000 lawsuits that claim talc-based products cause ovarian cancer. Mark Robinson, a plaintiffs' attorney, is now representing the estate of Eva Echeverria, who died after a decade-long battle with ovarian cancer. In a statement, Robinson announced his intention to appeal Judge Nelson's holding immediately.

J&J Scores Two Talc Victories

When it was handed down, Echeverria's award was the highest yet delivered in a litigation that had already seen four large judgments for ovarian cancer patients and their families. Out of six jury trials, Johnson & Johnson has secured only one defense verdict. Yet in the span of a week, the company garnered two big post-verdict wins.

The first came in Missouri, where thousands of talc lawsuits are gathered in a St. Louis state court. On Tuesday, October 17, 2017, the State's appeals court for the Eastern District threw out a $72 million verdict rendered in the case of Jacqueline Fox, who died from cancer-related complications in 2015. But the appeals court, taking direction from the Supreme Court's recent holding in Bristol-Myers Squibb v. Superior Court of California, ruled in a unanimous decision that Fox's case should not have been heard in Missouri, since she had been a resident of Alabama prior to her death.

$417 Million Talc Verdict Reversed

Six days later, Johnson & Johnson learned of Judge Maren Nelson's ruling in California. In his opinion, Judge Nelson criticized the jury's punitive damages award, a shocking $347 million, as excessive, citing a lack of evidence demonstrating Johnson & Johnson's malice. He also noted apparent jury misconduct, noting a defense argument that three jurors (all of whom had voted against holding the company responsible) had been inappropriately foreclosed from participating in the discussion of damages.

The Legal Herald

About Laurence Banville

Attorney Contributor:

Laurence P. Banville, Esq. is the managing partner of Banville Law. He is a regular contributor on several topics including negligent security cases, child sexual abuse and Dram Shop and liquor liability cases.

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