WASHINGTON—The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to consider a Johnson & Johnson appeal challenging a $2.1 billion civil judgment awarded to 20 women who alleged the company’s talcum baby powder caused ovarian cancer.

The court rejected the J&J appeal in a brief written order, effectively ending the case and leaving in place a Missouri appeals-court ruling against the company.

The women, all of whom had developed cancer, brought their product-liability claims in 2015, alleging that the company’s talc powders contained asbestos and that J&J long knew this and kept it secret.

The company denied that its talc products contained asbestos or were carcinogenic and said in a court brief that epidemiological studies “have found no meaningful association between cosmetic talc use and ovarian cancer.”

J&J, facing thousands of lawsuits, last year stopped selling talc-containing baby powder in the U.S. and Canada, citing a decline in demand amid safety concerns. The company continues to sell a cornstarch version of its baby powder.


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