Tuesday, May 25, 2021 - The US Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, has rejected Johnson & Johnson‘s attempt to overturn a jury decision that found their flagship product, Johnson‘s Baby Powder, responsible for causing ovarian cancer. Spokespersons for the company continued to insist that Johnson‘s Baby Powder talc was safe, pure, and asbestos-free and told reporters that the Supreme Court decision was based solely on administrative grounds and did not challenge the science underlying the lawsuit. "The matters that were before the court are related to legal procedure, and not safety. Decades of independent scientific evaluations confirm Johnson‘s Baby Powder is safe, does not contain asbestos, and does not cause cancer," Reuters told readers today. Legal experts agree that the Supreme Court petition centered around the unfairness of grouping 22 plaintiffs, 17 of which were from outside Missouri, into one trial. Several prominent defense attorney associations also wrote briefs to the court urging them to hear the case. Plaintiff attorney Ken Starr disagree and wrote the court on behalf of plaintiffs stating, to the effect, that company executives have known for more than fifty years that their talc supply was contaminated with asbestos and could have easily switched talc for cornstarch but chose not to do so to maximize profits. Visit talcum powder cancer lawsuit to learn more.
In 2018, twenty-two women plaintiffs were awarded a total of $4 billion after developed ovarian cancer from allegedly using Johnson‘s Baby Powder on the peritoneal region for freshness and dryness. Scientific experts testified for the plaintiffs that it was feasible that particles of talc entered their vagina and traveled up through the Fallopian tubes, and became permanently lodged in the ovaries where abrasion and oxidative stress lead to developing cancer. Johnson & Johnson failed in their appeal of the case to the Missouri Appeals Court. The judge reduced the monetary award for pain and suffering by half on administrative grounds. Statements made by the Missouri appeals court judge that upheld the original jury decision likely influenced the Supreme Court. According to Reuters, "The Missouri Court of Appeals concluded that it was reasonable to infer from the evidence that J&J ‘disregarded the safety of consumers‘ in its drive for profit despite knowing its talc products caused ovarian cancer. It also found ‘significant reprehensibility‘ in J&J‘s conduct." Earlier this year SEC filings revealed that Johnson & Johnson had doubled its reserves for legal expenses to $4 billion in anticipation of having to pay massive jury awards.
Failing to have the Supreme Court hear their case leaves Johnson & Johnson with their backs to the wall and facing more than 30,000 other cases with similar product usage and similar injuries blaming their ovarian cancer on using peritoneal talc. In 2020, the company settled one claim from 1000 plaintiffs represented by a team of attorneys for $100 million, much less costly than if they had taken them on one by one and lost. Johnson & Johnson may now seek to settle the remaining 30,000-plus cancer claims against them.