Supreme Court declines Johnson & Johnson’s appeal of $2 billion talcum powder charge

Supreme Court rejects Johnson & Johnson's appeal of $2 billion baby powder penalty

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In this picture illustration, a container of Johnson’s talcum powder made by Johnson and Johnson rests on a table on July 13, 2018 in San Francisco, California.

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday turned down an appeal from Johnson & Johnson looking for to reverse a $2.1 billion award versus it over claims that asbestos in its talc powder items, consisting of talcum powder, triggered ladies to establish ovarian cancer.

The leading court revealed in an order without any kept in mind dissents that it will not hear the case. Justices Samuel Alito and Brett Kavanaugh recused themselves from factor to consider of the case, according to the order.

Johnson & Johnson had actually asked the leading court to examine the charge versus it after the quantity was supported by the Missouri Supreme Court in 2015. A state appeals court earlier decreased the charge versus Johnson & Johnson from more than $4 billion.

The disagreement included intense legal firepower on both sides, with previous acting lawyer general Neal Katyal arguing on behalf of the New Brunswick, New Jersey-based pharmaceutical maker and Ken Starr, the previous Whitewater district attorney, representing ladies with ovarian cancer who took legal action against the business.

Johnson & Johnson stated it stopped offering its talc-based talcum powder in the United States and Canada in May 2020, mentioning decreased need “fueled by misinformation around the safety of the product and a constant barrage of litigation advertising.”

The business had actually stated that it is dealing with more than 21,800 suits versus it over its talc items.

Starr composed in his quick advising the justices not to examine the case that Johnson & Johnson “knew for decades that their talc powders contained asbestos, a highly carcinogenic substance with no known safe exposure level.”

“They could have protected customers by switching from talc to cornstarch, as their own scientists proposed as early as 1973. But talc was cheaper and petitioners were unwilling to sacrifice profits for a safer product,” he composed.

In contrast, Katyal argued that “federal regulators and respected health organizations have rejected calls for warnings on talc, and comprehensive epidemiological studies tracking tens of thousands of talc users have found no meaningful association between cosmetic talc use and ovarian cancer.”

Katyal stated that lawyers for those who had actually taken legal action against Johnson & Johnson had actually browsed the nation “for women who were both diagnosed with ovarian cancer and among the millions who used Petitioners’ talc products.”

“They put dozens of plaintiffs on the stand to discuss their experiences with cancer, and the jury awards billions of dollars in punitive damages supposedly to punish Petitioners,” he composed. “Lawyers can then follow this script and file the same claims with new plaintiffs and seek new outsized awards, over and over again.”

In a declaration on Tuesday, Johnson & Johnson stated that the Supreme Court’s choice left essential legal concerns unsolved.

“The matters that were before the court are related to legal procedure, and not safety,” the business stated. “Decades of independent scientific evaluations confirm Johnson’s Baby Powder is safe, does not contain asbestos, and does not cause cancer.”

Starr did not right away react to an ask for remark.

Johnson & Johnson shares were down more than 1% on Tuesday early morning.

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