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Supreme Court rejects J&J appeal over $2B award given to 22 women

By
Don Johnson
After facing thousands of lawsuits, the company announced last year that it would stop selling baby powder made with talc in the United States. File Photo by Justin Lane/EPA-EFE
After facing thousands of lawsuits, the company announced last year that it would stop selling baby powder made with talc in the United States. File Photo by Justin Lane/EPA-EFE

June 1 (UPI) -- The Supreme Court refused Tuesday to hear and appeal from Johnson & Johnson to a verdict for women who said the company's talcum powder products caused ovarian cancer, a move that allows a $2.1 billion award to stand.

In its appeal, the pharma company argued that it didn't receive a fair trial thee years ago.

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In 2018, a Missouri jury awarded 22 women who'd used Johnson & Johnson talcum powder products about $4.7 billion. The women claimed the powder was contaminated with asbestos.

A state appeals court cut the civil judgment to $2.1 billion.

RELATED Johnson & Johnson hit with $4.7B verdict in baby powder lawsuit

The high court justices did not comment in rejecting the appeal Tuesday and two justices did not take part in the decision due to conflicts of interest.

Justice Samuel Alito owns stock in Johnson & Johnson and Justice Brett Kavanaugh's father worked for an industry lobby group, NBC News reported.

The women first filed their lawsuit in 2015, claiming the company knew for years that its talc products contained asbestos, but kept it a secret.

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RELATED Large study shows no strong link between baby powder, ovarian cancer

Johnson & Johnson denied the asbestos link and said epidemiological studies found no connection between talc use and ovarian cancer. A 2020 study failed to find a statistically significant connection.

After facing thousands of lawsuits, the company announced last year that it would stop selling baby powder made with talc in the United States.

Johnson & Johnson argued in its appeal that it hadn't received a fair trial because the Missouri courts combined the cases of two dozen women from 12 states, which it said was problematic for jurors. It also argued the jury's award didn't match actual or monetary damages.

RELATED Missouri court throws out $72M million verdict in Johnson & Johnson talc case

The justices of the U.S. Supreme Court

Members of the U.S. Supreme Court pose for a group photo at the court in Washington, D.C., on Friday. Seated, from left to right, are Associate Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justices Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor. Standing, from left to right, are Associate Justices Brett Kavanaugh, Elena Kagan, Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett. Pool Photo by Erin Schaff/UPI | License Photo

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