Supreme Court Won’t Consider Johnson & Johnson Challenge to Baby Powder Judgment

A new case that could have big implications for companies like Johnson & Johnson, Johnson & Johnson, and Johnson & Johnson has been denied in the Supreme Court. The case, which was filed by 3 mothers who claimed Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based products, including Baby Powder, caused their children to develop ovarian cancer, has been dismissed.

Several years ago, the makers of the baby powder Johnson & Johnson were faced with a $72 million fine for illegally marketing their product as a safe product for babies. Now, the Supreme Court has decided not to hear an appeal from the company, meaning that the original verdict will stand.

word-image-10128 WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to hear a case that would have Johnson & Johnson JNJ -1.88%. Appeal of a $2.1 billion civil judgment against 20 women who claimed the company’s baby powder caused ovarian cancer. The court dismissed J&J’s appeal in a written order of summary judgment, affirming the Missouri Court of Appeals’ judgment against the company. The women, who all developed cancer, filed their consumer protection complaint in 2015, claiming that the company’s talcum powder contained asbestos and that J&J had long known about it and kept it secret. The company denies that its talc contains asbestos or is carcinogenic, and said in a court filing that epidemiological studies have found no significant link between the use of cosmetic talc and ovarian cancer. J&J, which faces thousands of lawsuits, stopped selling talcum-containing baby powder in the U.S. and Canada last year because of declining demand and safety concerns. The company continues to sell a version of its baby powder that contains corn starch. The appeal was heard by a St. Louis court in 2018. The jury found J&J liable for all of the plaintiffs’ claims and awarded the 22 women and their heirs approximately $4.7 billion, $550 million in compensatory damages and $4.14 billion in punitive damages. Last year, an appeals court reduced the total verdict to $2.1 billion and dismissed two plaintiffs from the case on jurisdictional grounds. J&J stressed Tuesday that the Supreme Court’s decision was not a decision on the merits. The company said the court’s decision not to intervene in the case leaves open important legal questions that will be further addressed by state and federal courts. In its petition to the Supreme Court, J&J argued that the State Court proceedings had been unfair. She argued that the lower courts had erred in allowing all women to participate in the mass trial and that the amount of punitive damages violated her constitutional right to a fair trial. The company also objected to the inclusion of out-of-state plaintiffs in the lawsuit, arguing that their claims were not sufficiently related to Missouri. Lawyers for the 20 women asked the Supreme Court not to hear the case, saying the company’s appeal was baseless and did not merit the court’s attention. Six women died of ovarian cancer before the trial began and three others died afterward, lawyers said in a court filing. Mark Lanier, attorney for the plaintiffs, said the Supreme Court’s decision sends a clear message to the rich and powerful: You will be prosecuted for aggravated assault under our fair system of justice. Judges Samuel Alito и Brett Cavanaugh. did not participate in the judicial deliberations. Judge Alito’s family owns shares of J&J, and Judge Kavanaugh’s father was a lobbyist for the cosmetics industry and opposed warning labels on cosmetics containing talc, according to financial documents. J&J booked about $4 billion in legal fees in 2020, primarily related to talc litigation and certain settlements, the company said in a February filing. Investors’ concerns about the ultimate cost of litigation have hurt J&J’s share price. From 4. By April, 28,900 plaintiffs had filed lawsuits in various U.S. courts against J&J, alleging that the company’s talcum powder had caused injuries, according to J&J’s latest quarterly report filed with securities regulators. In October 2019, J&J recalled about 33,000 bottles of its Johnson’s baby powder because the Food and Drug Administration found a small amount of asbestos in one bottle. J&J then commissioned its own laboratory to test the same bottle and other bottles from that batch and concluded that there was no detectable asbestos. The baby powder lawsuit is just one of many complaints about product safety and marketing tactics the company has faced in recent years. Judges and juries have ordered J&J to pay damages in lawsuits alleging that certain drugs and medical devices caused injury to people and that the company’s business practices contributed to the opioid addiction epidemic. J&J stated that its products are safe and its business practices are in compliance.

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Read more articles on the J&J judgment, selected by the editors. E-mail Brent Kendall at [email protected] and Peter Loftus at [email protected]. Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

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