Supreme Court denies Johnson & Johnson bid to void $2 billion talc verdict

The Supreme Court turned down an appeal by Johnson & Johnson to void a $2 billion judgment for women who claimed the company’s talc-based products caused ovarian cancer.

The move came in an unsigned order and leaves intact a Missouri state court verdict against the multinational giant. Justices Samuel Alito and Brett Kavanaugh took no part in the consideration of the petition.

Background: The hefty verdict was the culmination of numerous U.S. lawsuits brought by women who claimed that Johnson & Johnson products contained asbestos and other carcinogens and that the company ignored the health risks.

The initial verdict was for $4.7 billion, but a Missouri appellate court dropped two women from the suit, leaving 20 plaintiffs, and lowering the award to just over $2 billion.

Johnson & Johnson in May 2020 stopped using talc in its baby powder, but the company disputes that its products caused cancer. The company appealed to the Supreme Court in March.

Related: In 2019, Johnson & Johnson recalled 33,000 bottles of baby powder after the FDA found trace amounts of asbestos in a bottle.

Last year, Johnson & Johnson announced it would stop selling its talc-based products in the U.S. and Canada, citing decreased sales and “misinformation around the safety of the product and a constant barrage of litigation advertising.”