US justices reject Johnson & Johnson's appeal of $2 bn penalty in talc cancer case
Johnson & Johnson, located in New Brunswick, New Jersey, has discontinued sales of its talc-based Johnson's Baby Powder in the United States and Canada, however it is still available abroad. A $2 billion decision in favour of women who allege they acquired ovarian cancer after using Johnson & Johnson talc products has been upheld by the Supreme Court. The justices made no comments after dismissing Johnson & Johnson's appeal on Tuesday. The business said it was not treated equitably in a single experiment involving 22 cancer patients from 12 different states and backgrounds. The women were awarded $4.7 billion by a Missouri jury, but the amount was lowered to $2 billion when two women were excluded from the case by a state appeals court. The jury discovered asbestos in the company's talc goods, and asbestos-laced talc can cause ovarian cancer. Both arguments are contested by the firm. Johnson & Johnson, located in New Brunswick, New Jersey, has discontinued sales of its talc-based Johnson's Baby Powder in the United States and Canada, however it is still available abroad. Thousands of lawsuits have been filed against the corporation by women who say the asbestos in the powder caused their cancer. Talc is a mineral with a structure similar to asbestos, which is known to cause cancer, and they are often mined together. In 1976, the cosmetics industry committed to ensure that its talc products had no detectable quantities of asbestos. Mark Lanier, the women's principal counsel throughout the trial, hailed the court's reluctance to consider Johnson & Johnson's appeal. “This ruling sends a clear message to the wealthy and powerful: When you do horrific injury, you will be held accountable under our system of equal justice under the law,” Lanier said. The court's decision was not influenced by Justices Samuel Alito and Brett Kavanaugh. Alito holds Johnson & Johnson shares worth between $15,000 and $50,000. Kavanaugh's father was the president of a commercial group that pushed against talc being labelled a carcinogen and having a warning label on it. According to ethicists consulted by The Associated Press, E Edward Kavanaugh's participation did not require his son to recuse himself from the case.