Supreme Court denies Johnson & Johnson bid to void $2 billion talc verdict

The Supreme Court on Tuesday turned down an appeal by Johnson & Johnson to void a $2 billion judgment for women who claimed the company’s talc-based products caused ovarian cancer.

The move came in an unsigned order and leaves intact a Missouri state court verdict against the multinational giant. Justices Samuel AlitoSamuel AlitoA politicized Supreme Court? That was the point Locked and Loaded: Supreme Court is ready for a showdown on the Second Amendment The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Altria - Jan. 6 panel flexes its muscle MORE and Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughLocked and Loaded: Supreme Court is ready for a showdown on the Second Amendment Why Latinos need Supreme Court reform Feehery: A Republican Congress is needed to fight left's slide to autocracy MORE took no part in the consideration of the petition. 

The hefty verdict was the culmination of numerous U.S. lawsuits brought by women who claimed that Johnson & Johnson products contained asbestos and other carcinogens and that the company ignored the health risks.


Johnson & Johnson in May 2020 stopped using talc in its baby powder, but the company disputes that its products caused cancer.

The initial verdict was for $4.7 billion, but a Missouri appellate court dropped two women from the suit, leaving 20 plaintiffs, and lowering the award to just over $2 billion.

The company appealed to the Supreme Court in March. 

Alito and Kavanaugh did not explain their reasons for recusing. According to The Associated Press, the rationale may have been driven by Alito’s ownership of between $15,000 to $50,000 in Johnson & Johnson stock, as well as Kavanaugh’s father’s previous role lobbying against labeling talc a carcinogen.

--Updated at 10:43 a.m.