By Order filed on November 29, 2017, the Missouri Circuit Court Twenty-Second Judicial Circuit (City of St. Louis) (“Missouri Circuit Court”) affirmed a Missouri jury’s verdict in favor of 61 talc plaintiffs, two of whom were Missouri residents and the remaining 59 were non-residents of Missouri, turning away the defendants’ challenge based on the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California, 137 S. Ct. 1773 (2017) (“Bristol-Myers”), which was decided six weeks after the Missouri jury’s verdict was rendered.
The U.S. Supreme Court held in Bristol-Myers that each non-resident plaintiff must establish an independent basis for specific personal jurisdiction over the defendant in the state (i.e., there must be an affiliation between the forum and the underlying controversy, principally, an activity or an occurrence that takes place in the forum state), which was a clear departure from Missouri precedent in which Missouri courts have historically exercised personal jurisdiction over defendants as to joined non-residents’ claims so long as jurisdiction exits as to the residents’ claims.
In the Bristol-Myers case, all the conduct giving rise to the nonresidents’ claims occurred elsewhere. In the case the Missouri Circuit Court was deciding, there was evidence that the defendants’ conduct giving rise to the plaintiffs’ claims occurred in Missouri, including the defendants enlisting a Missouri company to manufacture, process, bottle, mislabel, and mispackage one of the talc-containing products that was manufactured both in Missouri and in Georgia. Hence, the Missouri Circuit Court found that there was substantial evidence in the record to satisfy the stringent standard for personal jurisdiction set forth in Bristol-Myers.
The Missouri Circuit Court further found that the plaintiff presented substantial evidence from which the jury could find in her favor on her claims of conspiracy, implied warranty, negligence, and punitive damages, and that the defendant had failed to show that the jury instructions were erroneous or prejudicial. The Missouri Circuit Court held that the plaintiff made a submissible case, that the jury’s verdict was a logical conclusion from the evidence presented at trial, and that the verdict was not against the weight of the evidence.
Lois Slemp v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., No. 1422-CC09326-02 Division No. 10.
The Missouri Jury’s Verdict
The Missouri talcum powder jury returned its verdict on May 4, 2017 in favor of the plaintiff in the amount of $110 million against Johnson & Johnson (“J & J”), finding that J & J failed to adequately warn the woman about the risk of cancer associated with use of talc-based products, such as J & J’s Baby Powder, for feminine hygiene. J & J was found 99% liable and the defendant talc supplier was found 1% liable. The Missouri talcum powder verdict includes $5.4 million in compensatory damages and $105 million in punitive damages against J & J (an additional $50,000 in punitive damages were awarded against the defendant talc supplier).
If you or a loved one were harmed as a result of a talc-based product in the United States, you should promptly consult with a product liability lawyer in your state who may investigate your talcum powder cancer claim for you and represent you in a claim against the manufacturer of an unreasonably dangerous consumer product, if appropriate.
Visit our website to be connected with talcum powder claim lawyers in your state who may assist you, or telephone us toll-free in the United States at 800-295-3959.
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