The US Supreme Court rejected an appeal from the pharmaceutical company, which ended years of litigation and class action lawsuits for the presence of asbestos that could cause ovarian cancer,
The Supreme Court of the United States refused on Tuesday to consider an appeal by the American pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson, thus confirming or condemning to pay 2.1 billion dollars in damages for the sale of talcum powder made with carcinogenic products.
The country's highest court, as usual, did not explain its decision, which would end years of litigation and could lead to embarrassment in other cases of class action.
The manufacturer of hygiene products has received thousands of complaints in recent years from people who have accused him of selling talc, which contains asbestos and causes ovarian cancer.
Johnson and Johnson have always denied the allegations. The company has been convicted several times. In 2018, a jury sentenced it to pay $ 4.4 billion in damages to 22 plaintiffs.
In June 2020, a Missouri appellate court reduced this amount, finding that some plaintiffs, having no ties to the state, should not have been included in the lawsuit.
However, the court found that the group had "knowingly sold products containing asbestos to consumers," causing "great physical, mental and emotional distress."
Johnson & Johnson appealed to the Missouri Supreme Court, which declined to consider the case and then to the nation's highest court, which did the same on Tuesday.
Last year, Missouri's appeals ruled against J&J's request to cancel the compensation and penal awards given to the plaintiffs. Still, in fact a jury set a total of $ 2.12 billion, up from $4.69 billion.
The group had argued that the class-action lawsuit, which included plaintiffs from other states, violated their rights and challenged the punitive amount of the award.
In 2018, a Reuters investigation found that Johnson & Johnson knew for decades that its talc and some powders tested positive for asbestos or asbestos. While doctors, lawyers, and company executives were upset with the findings, they never alerted consumers or regulators.
As early as the years between 1972 and 1975, three tests done in as many laboratories found asbestos in its talc, and in one case, the levels were "quite high ."