05.17.2019 | Publications | The Federal Lawyer

Dust in the Wind: Can Missouri’s $4 Billion Talc Verdict Survive Fourteenth Amendment Scrutiny

By Hayley (Kornachuk) Randall, Michael J. Cahalane, Lawrence G. Cetrulo

Founding Partner Lawrence G. Cetrulo, Partner Michael J. Cahalane and Associate Hayley Kornachuk recently published an article titled “Dust in the Wind: Can Missouri’s $4 Billion Talc Verdict Survive Fourteenth Amendment Scrutiny”.  This article was featured in the May/June, 2019 issue of The Federal Lawyer, a national magazine published by the Federal Bar Association.

The article discusses the recent Missouri case Ingham v. Johnson & Johnson  where a $4 Billion verdict was reached in favor of 22 women in a trial over claims that Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based products, including baby powder were contaminated with asbestos that caused the Plaintiffs’ ovarian cancer. The article contemplates whether an award of this size can possibly survive a constitutional challenge on due process grounds. In addition, the article argues that under Supreme Court jurisprudence, the Ingham punitive award should be reduced based on the Supreme Court’s “guideposts” that rely heavily on a case-by-case, fact-based analysis to review punitive damages awards. The “guideposts” were established in BMW of North American Inc. v. Gore and clarified in State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. v. Campbell.

Lawrence G. Cetrulo has been a national leader in the defense and trial of toxic tort litigation for over 39 years and is the founding and managing partner of Cetrulo LLP. Michael J. Cahalane is a partner at Cetrulo. He concentrates on products liability, toxic tort, and pharmaceutical litigation and regularly represents both asbestos and talc defendants. Hayley Kornachuk is an associate at Cetrulo. She practices primarily in the area of asbestos, products liability, and toxic tort litigation.

Read the full article.

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