$4.7 billion Johnson & Johnson verdict won’t be set aside, Missouri judge rules

Johnson & Johnson lost its chance Wednesday at tossing aside a class-action lawsuit in a Missouri trial court, Reuters reports. The company plans to appeal the verdict.

The July verdict awarded a record $4.69 billion to 22 women who said their ovarian cancer was caused by asbestos in the company’s Baby Powder and other talc products.

The consumer products company faces thousands of lawsuits related to its Baby Powder, one of its staple products.

Johnson & Johsnon has tried defending itself by claiming its talc is safe and asbestos-free. The trial referenced unsealed internal documents that allegedly detail awareness of asbestos contamination dating back to the 1970s.

St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Rex Burlison said the jury’s decision and the punitive damages were justified.

The New Jersey-based company’s stock has dropped more than 13 percent since last Friday, when Reuters published a report saying the company knew for decades that cancer-causing asbestos was in the product.

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