Johnson & Johnson’s appeal of a £1.4 billion talc verdict was denied by the Supreme Court.
The US Supreme Court has upheld a $2 billion (£1.4 billion) judgment in favor of women who allege they acquired ovarian cancer after using Johnson & Johnson talc products.
In denying Johnson & Johnson’s appeal on Tuesday, the justices made no comments. The company said it was not treated equitably in a single experiment involving 22 cancer patients from 12 different states and backgrounds.
A Missouri jury awarded the ladies 4.7 billion dollars (£3.3 billion), but two women were withdrawn from the claim and the award was lowered to two billion dollars (£1.4 billion) by a state appeals court.
The jury discovered asbestos in the company’s talc goods, and asbestos-laced talc can cause ovarian cancer. Both points are contested by the firm.
This ruling sends a strong message to the wealthy and powerful: when you do grievous injury, you will be held accountable under our system of equal justice under the law.
Johnson & Johnson, based 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 elsewhere.
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.
The court’s rejection to hear Johnson & Johnson’s appeal was hailed by Mark Lanier, the women’s principal counsel throughout the trial.
“This ruling sends a clear message to the wealthy and powerful: when you do horrific harm, you will be held accountable under our system of equal justice under the law,” Mr. Lanier said.