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Justices Reject Johnson & Johnson Bid to Overturn $2B Talc Verdict

June 10, 2021 by TWN Staff
A bottle of Johnson's baby powder is displayed. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

The Supreme Court this week decided to leave in place a $2 billion verdict in favor of women who claim they developed ovarian cancer from using Johnson & Johnson talc products.

As is their custom, the justices did not comment Tuesday on why they rejected Johnson & Johnson’s appeal.

In briefs submitted to the court, the company argued that it was not treated fairly in facing one trial involving 22 cancer sufferers who came from 12 states and different backgrounds.

A Missouri jury initially awarded the women $4.7 billion, but a state appeals court dropped two women from the suit and reduced the award to $2 billion. The jury found that the company’s talc products contain asbestos and asbestos-laced talc can cause ovarian cancer.

After loosing those lawsuits, Johnson & Johnson stopped selling its talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder in the U.S. and Canada.

But the company still faces thousands of lawsuits from women who claim asbestos in the powder caused their cancer.

Talc is a mineral similar in structure to asbestos, which is known to cause cancer, and they are sometimes obtained from the same mines. The cosmetics industry in 1976 agreed to make sure its talc products do not contain detectable amounts of asbestos.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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