Johnson & Johnson challenges $417M talc verdict, its largest defeat yet

Johnson & Johnson is challenging a $417 million talc verdict it suffered this summer in Los Angeles.

Johnson & Johnson is not going down without a fight after suffering a stinging $417 million talc powder defeat last month. The drug giant filed motions in a Los Angeles court challenging the verdict and arguing that the outcome was "seriously flawed." 

In a filing this month, the company argued that the trial outcome was improper due to irregularity in courtroom proceedings, jury misconduct, insufficient evidence and error in law. The company also said the damages were "excessive." The filing says the court should enter a judgment in favor of J&J or convene a new trial. 

"The verdict is seriously flawed in so many respects that it cries out for this court's intervention," J&J's filing (PDF) states. The "weight of the evidence" doesn't show causation, J&J argued, adding that the court allowed plaintiff's attorneys to submit improper evidence that "inflamed" the jury. Those are just a few of the company's many arguments. 

Handed down in August, the $417 million verdict in Los Angeles is J&J's largest talc defeat yet and adds to $300 million in other verdicts it's lost in St. Louis. All told, J&J faces thousands of other talc cases alleging harm from the consumer product. 

The company hasn't lost every case though, as it was able to break a St. Louis losing streak back in May. J&J also won two cases in New Jersey.  

The allegations are the same in many of the cases. Plaintiffs say decades of using J&J's talc powder caused their ovarian cancer, but J&J argues the science is on its side. In an interview this summer, liability litigation expert Mark Raffman said based on what he's seen, J&J will continue to fight the cases rather than ink a massive settlement.