ST. LOUIS COUNTY (KMOX/AP) – Another multi-million dollar verdict in a talcum powder case has been handed down in St. Louis County — the biggest one yet.
A local jury awarded a Virginia woman more than $110 million after she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012.
During trial, her attorneys presented internal documents showing Johnson & Johnson knew about a link between talcum powder use and ovarian cancer.
The jury ruling Thursday night for 62-year-old Lois Slemp, of Wise, Virginia, comes after three previous St. Louis juries awarded a total of $197 million to plaintiffs who made similar claims.
Those cases, including the previous highest award of $72 million, are all under appeal.
About 2,000 state and federal lawsuits are in courts across the country over concerns about health problems caused by prolonged talcum powder use.
Slemp, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012, blames her illness on her use of the company’s talcum-containing products for more than 40 years. Her cancer has spread to her liver.
Although she was too ill to attend the trial, an audiotape of her deposition testimony was played. In it she said: “I trusted Johnson & Johnson. Big mistake.”
Her attorney, James Onder, says the big hit is appropriate for Johnson & Johnson.
“They make $90 billion a year in net profits. The issue is how much is necessary to punish them to get their attention?” he asks.
This latest verdict follows three other settlements worth $55 million, $70 million, and $72 million handed down by St. Louis County juries.
Johnson & Johnson would like the cases moved to another location, after the string of multi-million dollar verdicts against the company by St. Louis-area juries.
Johnson & Johnson, based in Brunswick, New Jersey, said in a statement it would appeal and disputed the scientific evidence behind the plaintiffs’ allegations.
The company also noted that a St. Louis jury found in its favor in March and that two cases in New Jersey were thrown out by a judge who said there wasn’t reliable evidence that talc leads to ovarian cancer.
“We are preparing for additional trials this year and we will continue to defend the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder,” the statement said.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)