Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson recently won a significant dismissal of a large verdict after a New Jersey appeals court ruled that the plaintiff’s expert witness provided improper testimony and a new trial was warranted. The original damages awarded to the plaintiff of $117 million were rescinded after the appeals court found the ruling judge should not have allowed the expert testimony to include that non-asbestiform minerals could cause mesothelioma. The panel found that Judge Viscomi "did not assess the methodology, or the underlying data used by the two experts to form their opinions," and the resulting unproven testimony may have swayed the jury to believe cancer-causing amphiboles were found in Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder.
The ruling is an important victory for the company, due to ongoing litigation claims that Johnson & Johnson products contain asbestos-containing talc. The company stated, “These unproven theories have been the centerpiece of the talc litigation, and today's opinion marks an important rejection of that approach.”
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