Talcum Powder Lawsuit Plaintiffs Appeal Decision Tossing $72 Million Verdict to Missouri Supreme Court

Published on January 8, 2018 by Laurie Villanueva

The family of an Alabama woman who allegedly developed ovarian cancer due to her long-term use of Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder have filed an appeal with the Missouri Supreme Court in a bid to overturn a decision dismissing the $72 million verdict awarded in her case last year.

Jacqueline Fox, 62, of Birmingham, died in 2015, just months before her talcum powder lawsuit was heard by a jury in Missouri’s 22nd Circuit Court in St. Louis. According to her lawsuit, Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder had been a part of Fox’s daily feminine hygiene routine for more than 25 years prior to her diagnosis.

Last February, Fox’s family was awarded $10 million in actual damages and $62 million in punitive damages after the jury hearing the case found that Johnson & Johnson concealed evidence linking genital talc use to ovarian cancer and failed to warn the public of this risk. The case marked the first time a jury had awarded financial damages in a case involving Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products and ovarian cancer.

The Missouri Eastern District Court tossed the verdict in October, after finding that Missouri was not the proper jurisdiction for the case. The ruling was based on the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Bristol-Myers Squibb v. Superior Court of California, which stipulated that plaintiffs may only file suit in jurisdictions where defendants are headquartered or where their injuries are alleged to have occurred.

The plaintiffs filed their motion to transfer the case to the Missouri Supreme Court on January 2nd, just two weeks after the appeals court denied their motion for a rehearing.

Johnson & Johnson Talcum Powder Verdicts

Johnson & Johnson is named a defendant in more than 5,500 talcum powder lawsuits, all of which were filed on behalf of women who allegedly developed ovarian cancer due to their long-term use of the company’s Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower products for feminine hygiene purposes.

Since early 2015, plaintiffs in several high-profile state talcum powder trials have been awarded multi-million-dollar judgments ranging from $55 million to $417 million. In November, the $110 million verdict awarded to another out-state-plaintiff in Missouri was upheld, after the trial court concluded that jurisdiction was appropriate because Johnson & Johnson and Imery’s Talc America had used a state-based company to label, package and distribute their talc products.

A California judge recently overturned the $417 million verdict in that state’s first talcum powder trial because of accusations involving juror misconduct and other issues.

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