Mistrial Declared in Missouri Talc Case after Supreme Court's Bristol-Myers Ruling

talc johnson & johnsonA Missouri judge granted a mistrial in Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder trial in Missouri today after the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Bristol-Myers’ Plavix Case yesterday.

The court granted Johnson & Johnson’s motion for a mistrial, which cited Bristol-Myers Squibb v. Superior Court of California. The decision held that California courts lack specific jurisdiction to entertain the nonresidents’ claims.

Johnson & Johnson sought the mistrial in Swann v. Johnson & Johnson, which involves the claims of more than 60 women, many of whom were not from Missouri. The family members of three of those women, all deceased, were the plaintiffs in this month’s trial. Only one was from Missouri.

“Under the reasoning of Bristol-Myers, the mere fact that nonresident plaintiffs have joined their claims with those of a handful of Missouri residents does not suffice to give rise to personal jurisdiction over the Johnson & Johnson defendants with respect to their claims,” says 22nd Circuit Court in St. Louis Judge Rex Burlison.

Dramatic implications

The mistrial decision could have dramatic implications for the rest of the Missouri trials, the next of which was slated for August, according to the National Law Journal. Some 1,700 women allege that they got ovarian cancer from prolonged use of talcum powder have filed claims in suits in Missouri.

But lead plaintiffs attorney Ted Meadows immediately refuted the idea. Ted Meadows, of Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles in Montgomery, Alabama says, “After reviewing this morning’s Supreme Court ruling, and based on evidence and statements now in the record, we believe this litigation can go forward in Missouri courts. ”

Johnson & Johnson has so far lost jury verdicts in Missouri totaling roughly $300 million. Last month, a Missouri jury awarded $110 million in an individual case. Johnson & Johnson won one verdict earlier this year.

It was the fourth mega-verdict delivered against Johnson & Johnson, which has known about the ovarian cancer risks since the 1970s. In 2016 juries returned verdicts of $72 million, $70 million and $55 million against J&J in lawsuits filed by women with ovarian cancer.

 

 


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