A judge’s ruling tossing a record $417 million verdict in California last week could spell trouble for attorneys handling cases for plaintiffs in talc products liability litigation—and not just because of the massive size of the rejected award.

In her Oct. 20 decision, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Maren Nelson outlined a host of problems with the jury’s Aug. 21 verdict, the largest award in the talcum powder litigation. But her most pointed complaint struck at the heart of the cases: The plaintiff, she said, didn’t provide enough scientific evidence that Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder caused ovarian cancer.

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