US Supreme Court rejects J&J’s attempt to avoid Mississippi talc lawsuit

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FILE PHOTO: Members of the media gather outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, U.S., December 10, 2021. REUTERS/Sarah Silbiger/File Photo

December 13, 2021

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday denied Johnson & Johnson’s hearing to bring a lawsuit brought by the state of Mississippi alleging that the company failed to notify people that its products Their talc products increase the risk of developing ovarian cancer.

Judges issued a ruling in April by the Mississippi Supreme Court allowing the case to proceed.

In the case being pursued by Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch, the state argues that J&J should include warning labels on its labels for baby talcum powder and other talc products about the risk of ovarian cancer. . The US Food and Drug Administration said in 2014 that it did not require such a label, and the company has said that decision precedes lawsuits from states like Mississippi.

A 2018 Reuters investigation found that J&J had known for decades that asbestos, a carcinogen, was present in its talc products. Internal company records, court testimony and other evidence show that from at least 1971 to the early 2000s, J&J raw and finished talcum powder sometimes tested positive for the drug. small amounts of asbestos.

The company said in May 2020 it would stop selling its baby talcum powder in the United States and Canada, citing changing consumer habits and what it calls “misinformation” about product safety amid numerous regulatory challenges.

In October, J&J went bankrupt with tens of thousands of lawsuits alleging its talc products caused cancer, leaving hidden debts into a new subsidiary.

J&J said talc lawsuits will be put on hold while the new entity responsible for J&J’s talc debts navigates bankruptcy proceedings. Mississippi disagreed, telling the judge not to condone “the company’s attempt to delay further.”

Judge Samuel Alito did not participate in the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the appeal, likely because he owns J&J stock. Justice Brett Kavanaugh, whose father – now retired – is a longtime lobbyist for the toiletries industry, was also not involved. Judges often don’t explain why they drop a party in certain cases.

The Supreme Court in June rejected J&J’s separate appeal to overturn a $2.12 billion punitive award for women who blamed their ovarian cancer on talcum powder and talcum powder. other talc products of the company.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham) US Supreme Court rejects J&J’s attempt to avoid Mississippi talc lawsuit

Bobby Allyn

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