The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to review Johnson & Johnson’s petition to overturn a $2.12 billion damages award to women who claimed that they contracted ovarian cancer from the asbestos found in the company’s baby powder and other talc products.
The justices turned down an appeal by Johnson & Johnson and left in place a Missouri state court ruling in a lawsuit brought by 22 women whose claims were heard together in one trial.
The Missouri Court of Appeals ruled against Johnson & Johnson in its bid to throw out the compensatory and punitive damages awarded to the women, but reduced the compensation to $2.12 billion from the $4.69 billion decided by a jury.
Johnson & Johnson will make a payment of $2.5 billion, which includes interest, this month, noting that there are unresolved legal issues that are still to be litigated.
Johnson & Johnson earlier said it faces more than 19,000 similar claims.
“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,” the company said.
The Missouri Supreme Court, declined to hear Johnson & Johnson’s appeal, prompting the company to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“This was a victory, not just for the amazing women and their families who we were privileged to represent, but a victory for justice,” said Mark Lanier, a lawyer for the plaintiffs.