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Supreme Court rejects Johnson & Johnson's appeal on $2 billion settlement with cancer patients

Justices Samuel Alito and Brett Kavanaugh did not participate in the ruling because of conflicts of interest.

Updated: June 2, 2021 - 1:49pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected Johnson & Johnson's appeal to overturning a $2 billion Missouri jury decision, making the company pay the settlement to 20 women who claimed asbestos in the company's talcum powder caused them to have ovarian cancer.

The court's justices did not comment in their ruling, rejecting the New Brunswick, N.J.-based company's argument that it was treated unfairly in have to face one trial involving 22 women with cancer from 12 states and of different backgrounds, according to the Associated Press.

The jury initially awarded the women $4.7 billion, but a state appeals court dropped two women from the suit and reduced the award to $2 billion.

The jury found that the company’s talc products contain asbestos and asbestos-laced talc can cause ovarian cancer. The company disputes both points. However, with 19,000 lawsuits against them, the company announced in May that they would no longer be selling their baby powder in the United States and Canada.

Justices Samuel Alito and Brett Kavanaugh did not participate in the ruling because of conflicts of interest. Alito has stock in Johnson & Johnson, Kavanaugh's father headed the trade association that lobbied that talc should have a warning label.

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