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Johnson's baby powder packages on the supermarket shelf.. Johnson’s baby powder packages on the supermarket shelf.

A Missouri appeals court has sliced a $4.7 billion talcum powder verdict to $2.1 billion but refused to wipe out punitive damages, concluding that the evidence at trial showed Johnson & Johnson’s conduct was “outrageous because of evil motive or reckless indifference.”

In a Tuesday order, the Missouri Court of Appeals sided with Johnson & Johnson in reversing the jury award entirely as to two of the 22 women and their families who alleged that prolonged use of its baby powder, which contained asbestos, caused them to get ovarian cancer. The unanimous panel, which heard oral arguments earlier this year, also reversed the awards against Johnson & Johnson as to another 15 women who used Shower to Shower, another talcum powder product, because they were not from Missouri and, as such, lacked personal jurisdiction to bring their claims in St. Louis City Circuit Court.

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