The family of an ovarian cancer victim has asked a Missouri appeals court to reconsider its recent decision to toss out the $72 million jury verdict awarded in their talcum powder lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson.
The family of Virginia Fox claims that she developed terminal ovarian cancer due to the regular and repeated use of Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products for feminine hygiene purposes. The case was the first talcum powder lawsuit to go to trial in Missouri’s 22nd Circuit Court for St. Louis, where dozens of similar cases filed against Johnson & Johnson have been consolidated.
The Fox estate was awarded $10 million in compensatory damages and $62 million in punitive damages in February 2016.
The verdict was tossed last month, after a three-judge panel of the Missouri Court of Appeals’ Eastern District found that the trial judge erred in taking personal jurisdiction over the Alabama resident’s claims. The finding was based on new standards set forth by the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Bristol-Myers Squibb v. Superior Court of California, which require that suits be filed in jurisdictions where defendants are headquartered or where their injuries are alleged to have occurred.
According to Law360.com, the Fox estate did not contest the appeals court’s interpretation of the Bristol-Myers Squibb decision in its November 2nd request for reconsideration. Rather, the estate argued that “fundamental fairness and due process” required that the case be remanded to the trial court or transferred to the state Supreme Court so the estate may present new arguments and evidence for jurisdiction under the new standard.
“If this means that the entire verdict must be set aside — vacated — before the personal jurisdiction issues are decided anew under the Bristol-Myers standard, the respondent acquiesces in this result. Then, the personal jurisdiction issues can be determined anew,” the filing stated.
More than 4,800 talcum powder lawsuits have been filed against Johnson & Johnson in courts nationwide, all of which involve women who allegedly developed ovarian cancer after using the company’s products for feminine hygiene. Among other things, plaintiffs claim that Johnson & Johnson was aware of studies dating back to the 1970s that suggested such a link, but chose not to warn consumers out of a desire to protect sales of its Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower franchises.
Three other talcum powder ovarian cancer claims have gone to trial in Missouri, with juries awarding all three plaintiffs damages ranging from $55 million to $110 million.