Missouri Supreme Court Clears Multi-Plaintiff Talcum Powder Lawsuit for Trial

Published on January 24, 2018 by Sandy Liebhard

Johnson & Johnson has been denied its bid to stop a multi-plaintiff talcum powder lawsuit from going to trial in Missouri.

The case, Ingham, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson, et al. (No. 1522-CC1041) is currently pending in Missouri’s 22nd Circuit Court, City of St. Louis, where hundreds of similar cases have been filed on behalf of women who claim to have developed ovarian cancer due to their long-term use of Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower talc-based powders.

Multi-Plaintiff Talcum Powder Lawsuit Set for June Trial

According to HarrisMartin.com, the underlying talcum powder lawsuit, which involves an out-of-state plaintiff, was removed to federal court following a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that limits plaintiffs to filing product liability claims in jurisdictions where defendants are headquartered or where their injuries are alleged to have occurred. However, the case was remanded back to the state court after the federal court found that removal was not timely.

The trial court ultimately found that jurisdiction was appropriate after plaintiffs presented evidence indicating that Johnson & Johnson had used a Missouri-based company to manufacture, mislabel and package its talcum powder products.

The Ingham plaintiffs filed a notice of subpoena on one of those companies on January 2nd.

Johnson & Johnson filed a writ of prohibition seeking with the Missouri Supreme Court last month that sought to overturn the trial court’s decision. The filing came shortly after an intermediate appeals court denied the company a similar petition.

The Missouri Supreme Court denied Johnson & Johnson’s latest petition on January 22nd.

Sources told HarrisMartin.com that the Ingham talcum powder lawsuit is scheduled for trial on June 4, 2018, when the claims of all 22 plaintiffs will be heard.

Nationwide Talcum Powder Litigation

Johnson & Johnson has been named a defendant in more than 5,500 talcum powder ovarian cancer claims currently pending in courts throughout the United States. Among other things, plaintiffs assert that Johnson & Johnson has been aware of research dating back to the 1970s linking genital talc use to an increased risk of ovarian cancer. They further allege that company officials made a conscious decision not to warn the public in order to protect the profits associated with Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower sales.

Since February 2015, plaintiffs in several high-profile talcum powder ovarian cancer trials have been awarded multi-million-dollar judgments ranging from $55 million to $417 million. Recently, however, a judge in California overturned the $417 million verdict because of accusations involving juror misconduct and other issues.

A $72 million verdict awarded to an out-of-state plaintiff in Missouri’s talcum powder litigation was also tossed to comply with new standards set by the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Bristol-Myers Squibb v. Superior Court of California.

In November, however, a $110 million verdict awarded to another out-state-plaintiff was upheld, after the trial court concluded that jurisdiction was appropriate because Johnson & Johnson had used a Missouri-based company to label, package and distribute their talc products.

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