Supreme Court Rejects J&J’s Broad-Shield Defense Over Talc Products

By attorneyatlaw
January 5, 2022

On Dec. 13, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a request by Johnson & Johnson—the world’s largest manufacturer of healthcare products—to shield its talc-containing consumer products from failure-to-warn lawsuits. 

The Supreme Court Justices turned away the appeal without comment. Justices Alito and Kavanaugh did not take part in the rejection. Though there was no comment from either Justice as to why it has been speculated that there may have been a conflict of interest; the Alito family owns stock in Johnson & Johnson and Justice Kavanaugh’s father was a cosmetic-industry lobbyist.

More than 38,000 individuals have filed lawsuits against J&J over claims that its talc products caused them to develop cancer. Previous juries have found that when female plaintiffs frequently applied talc to their genital area over the course of many years, it led to them developing ovarian cancer. 

Plaintiffs in other talc cancer trials have claimed that unintentionally inhaling fine talc particulates from talc powder caused them to develop mesothelioma, a cancer that develops in the lining of the lungs. 

J&J recently tried to resolve talc lawsuits by creating a new subunit of the company that would hold the talc liabilities in Chapter 11 bankruptcy. According to, the company is hoping to put an end to talc litigation with a trust of at least $2 billion. 

Attorneys for J&J have argued that because federal labeling laws do not require a cancer warning label on talc products, all talc lawsuits against the company for failure to warn have no merit. 

But a recent ruling by the Mississippi Supreme Court found that even though J&J’s talc products did not receive an FDA-mandated cancer warning label after two citizen petitions, it does not grant J&J pre-emption from liability. 

Talc products are sourced by crushing talcum mineral into a fine powder. In nature, talcum lies in close proximity to asbestos, which is a cancer-causing mineral. In April 2021, a materials scientist that testified in a talc mesothelioma trial claimed that asbestos contamination in talc is unavoidable due to the fact that the minerals are located next to each other. 

Because of declining sales and perhaps because of the negative publicity over talc lawsuits, J&J pulled its talc products from North American stores last year. In June 2021, the company faced another setback at the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court, when its petition to review a $2.1 billion talc damage award to 20 female cancer sufferers was denied. 

If you or a family member have been harmed by talcum powder or any other consumer product, the best way to receive your fair share of compensation is with the assistance of Attorney at Law.

At AAL, our nationwide network of attorneys and law firms can match you with a local attorney who has the experience and resources necessary to pursue your product liability case to its fullest extent. 

Our partners focus on the client experience and treat your case with the urgency it needs. Additionally, our partners work on contingency for all product liability cases. That means if you don’t win, you don’t pay.

Don’t wait. Contact AAL today for a free, no-obligation consultation and begin your journey to better financial, physical and emotional health. 

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