Tags: Johnson and Johnson | talcum powder | verdict | appeal

Johnson and Johnson Talcum Powder Verdict Tossed

Johnson and Johnson Talcum Powder Verdict Tossed

In this April 15, 2011, file photo, a bottle of Johnson's baby powder is displayed in San Francisco. (Jeff Chiu/AP Photo, File)

Wednesday, 18 October 2017 09:11 AM

Johnson & Johnson won its appeal of a $72 million talcum powder verdict claiming its products cause ovarian cancer, as a Missouri appeals court found the case shouldn’t have been tried in a St. Louis city court.

Johnson & Johnson won its appeal of a $72 million verdict claiming its talc products cause ovarian cancer, as a Missouri appeals court found the case shouldn’t have been tried in a St. Louis city court.

The verdict to the family of Jacqueline Fox, an Alabama woman who died in 2015, was the first of a series of jury awards in the St. Louis court. The juries there have awarded more than $300 million in verdicts over the talc claims.

The appeals court decision endangers the other Missouri verdicts against J&J as well as hundreds of talc actions filed in the St. Louis court against the company.

The appeals court followed a U.S. Supreme Court decision in June limiting out-of-state plaintiffs from combining actions in a lower court. The high court, in a case involving Bristol-Myers Squibb, ruled there had to be a connection between the forum and the specific claims at issue.

The Supreme Court Delivers a Blow to Plaintiff Paradise

Under the revised standard, “a non-resident plaintiff must establish an independent basis for specific personal jurisdiction over the defendant in the state,” the appellate court said. Fox didn’t meet that standard.

Non-resident plaintiffs with ovarian cancer talc claims had been flocking to the St. Louis court, with complaints filed combining dozens of cases. Under the state rules, only one plaintiff had to be a St. Louis resident. The Bristol-Myers ruling changes how those cases will be treated. 

“In the cases involving non-resident plaintiffs who sued in the state of Missouri, we consistently argued that there was no jurisdiction," Carol Goodrich, company spokeswoman, said in an email. "We expect the existing verdicts that we are appealing to be reversed.” 

J&J contends there are no links between ovarian cancer and its Baby Powder or Shower to Shower talc products.

Fox family lawyers may appeal, attorney Ted Meadows said in a statement. 

“Today’s decision represents a denial of justice for the Fox family,” Meadows said. “The evidence and science remain on the side of the victims of ovarian cancer, and in time we will prevail.”

The plaintiff’s lawyers sought to tie a Missouri distributor to the case to establish jurisdiction and send the case back to the trial court. The appeals court rejected the request, vacating the verdict.

J&J is facing more than 5,500 talc claims in state and federal courts in the U.S., including more than 1,000 in St. Louis. The $72 million award to Fox in February 2016 was followed by verdicts in separate cases in St. Louis for $55 million and $70 million last year and $110 million in May. The company won a defense verdict in a fifth St. Louis talc trial in March. A California jury returned a $417 million jury verdict in the first California trial over the claims in August.

The case is Fox v. Johnson & Johnson, ED104580, Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District.

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Johnson & Johnson won its appeal of a $72 million talcum powder verdict claiming its products cause ovarian cancer, as a Missouri appeals court found the case shouldn't have been tried in a St. Louis city court.
Johnson and Johnson, talcum powder, verdict, appeal
521
2017-11-18
Wednesday, 18 October 2017 09:11 AM
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