Appeals Court in Missouri Overturns Johnson & Johnson Talc Verdict

On Tuesday, a Missouri Court of Appeals said that given a recent decision by the United States Supreme Court that limited where lawsuits for injury could be filed, the case involving the death of Jacqueline Fox who was a resident of Alabama should not have been tried in a court in St. Louis.

The decision reversed a verdict of $72 million that the St. Louis court found in favor of Fox’s family. Her death was from ovarian cancer that they claimed has stemmed from her using the talc-based products of the company.

The verdict in February of 2016 for the Fox family was the first of four awards by jurists that totaled $307 million in St. Louis state court to plaintiffs that accused the company of not warning consumers adequately over the risks of cancer involving its talc-based products.

J&J, which was victorious in the trial in Missouri, said it is facing lawsuits by over 4,800 plaintiffs across the country that assert similar types claims over the products that are talc-based.

It is also facing court cases in California, where a jury in August awarded $417 million to a woman.

The cases in Missouri, which have for the most part been brought by plaintiffs from out of state, have faced questions about jurisdiction following the ruling issued by the Supreme Court in June limiting where lawsuits involving personal injury could be filed.

The Supreme Court, in a decision that involved Bristol-Myers Squibb, said that state courts were not able to hear claims by plaintiffs who were non-residents and had not been injured in the state in which the court was located, and where the company being sued was not based.

The panel of three judges at the appeals court in Missouri cited the high court’s ruling and the case that involved Fox, who had died four months prior to trial, and was named as one of 65 plaintiffs, only two of whom were residents of Missouri.

Fox family lawyers said that the resident of Alabama had died during 2015, at 62 years of age following the use of Shower to Shower and Baby Powder for over 35 years. J&J sold its Shower to Shower product in 2012 to Valeant Pharmaceuticals.

Jurors determined Johnson & Johnson to be liable and awarded compensatory damages of $10 million and punitive damages of $62 million.

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