Missouri Supreme Court Rejects Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder Appeal

The Missouri Supreme Court has refused to consider Johnson & Johnson’s appeal in the infamous baby powder case in which 22 women claimed carcinogens in the company’s talc products caused their ovarian cancer.

J&J Baby PowderPhoto Credit: Shutterstock

In May, the company claimed it would permanently stop selling its baby powder talc in the United States and Canada as part of a Covid-19 “portfolio assessment.”

The following month, the Missouri Court of Appeals upheld a 2018 jury’s finding of liability. However, they reduced the award to $2.12 billion from $4.7 billion, saying several women shouldn’t have been included in the original verdict because they were not residents of Missouri.

In that decision, the court said it was reasonable to infer from the evidence that Johnson & Johnson “disregarded the safety of consumers” in its drive for profit, despite knowing its talc products caused ovarian cancer. It also found “significant reprehensibility” in the company’s illicit conduct.

Last week the Missouri Supreme Court let the June 23 verdict stand.

A lawyer for the plaintiffs said in a statement, “Johnson & Johnson should accept the findings of the jury and the appellate court and move forward with proper compensation to the victims.”

Johnson & Johnson responded to that statement claiming they endured a “fundamentally flawed trial, grounded in a faulty presentation of the facts.” They stated the resulting verdict was “at odds with decades of independent scientific evaluations confirming Johnson’s Baby Powder is safe, does not contain asbestos and does not cause cancer.”

Although upset with the findings, J&J reported in an SEC filing it will record a $2.1 billion reserve for the damages award.

This verdict does not close the book on the company’s baby powder related litigation; Johnson & Johnson stated it faces upwards of 21,000 lawsuits claiming that its talc products caused cancer due to contamination from asbestos.

While Missouri’s highest court refused to examine the appeal, Johnson & Johnson plans to take the case to the US Supreme Court, hoping for a different result.

For more articles from Haute Lawyer, visit