OAN’s Elizabeth Volberding
5:56 PM – Tuesday, October 3, 2023
A state appeals court in New Jersey has tossed out a $223.8 million ruling against Johnson & Johnson regarding its talc powder products, stating that a lower court judge should not have allowed particular scientific testimony to be heard by jurors.
On Tuesday, a New Jersey appeals court threw out a verdict that had been ruled against Johnson & Johnson. A jury had granted four plaintiffs, who stated that they got cancer from being exposed to asbestos in the corporation’s talc powder products, $223.8 million in compensation.
After the verdict, the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, reevaluated the case and discovered that a lower court judge permitted the jury to view scientific expert testimony from the plaintiffs that was not allowed.
A three-judge panel on the appeals court reversed the judgment and mandated a new trial after concluding that the trial court had not performed its “gatekeeping role” of determining whether the plaintiffs’ expert testimony was supported by reliable scientific evidence.
J&J Worldwide Vice President of Litigation, Erik Haas, also issued a statement saying that the decision “resoundingly rejects … the ‘junk science’ advanced by purported ‘experts’ paid by the mass tort asbestos bar.”
“This marks the third time in three years that an appellate court has overturned outsized verdicts that asbestos lawyers secured by confusing and misleading juries with unscientific opinions touting baseless liability theories,” Haas continued.
The ruling comes as J&J has been preparing to face a series of jury trials early next year regarding allegations that its executives have know since the early 1970’s that their talc contained trace amounts of asbestos and that they failed to alert consumers and regulators.
The company has come out to debunk those rumors, claiming that its talc products are safe and do not contain asbestos.
Shares of J&J have decreased by 0.5% since early Tuesday.
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