Despite the fact that the Missouri Supreme Court canceled all in person arguments in April as a result of the Coronavirus crisis, the Missouri Eastern District Court of Appeals in St. Louis has set a date of April 24 for Johnson and Johnson’s appeal of the record-setting $4.69 billion verdict against the company in July 2018. The original trial was held in St. Louis Circuit Court where the jury awarded $550 million in compensatory damages and $4.14 in punitive damages to 29 plaintiffs who alleged injuries as a result of their exposure to J&J talc products.
The appellate court’s March 25 ruling requires that two attorneys for J&J and two for the plaintiffs appear in person for oral argument in the matter; the arguments will be live streamed on Facebook and recorded for YouTube. The court also granted J&J additional time for its arguments, allotting 30 minutes each to both J&J and the plaintiffs for their principal argument but giving J&J an additional six minutes for rebuttal.
At trial, J&J argued that its products never contained asbestos. In its 143-page appellate brief, J&J also contends that the trial should not have been allowed to proceed with so many plaintiffs, pointing to the fact that the jurors awarded nearly identical compensatory awards to the plaintiffs despite their different circumstances.