After a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on June 19, Circuit Judge Rex Burlison declared a mistrial in the latest talcum powder case in St. Louis Circuit Court. This was the sixth case in St. Louis against Defendants Johnson & Johnson and Imerys Talc America. The Plaintiffs in the case represent the estates of three women who died from ovarian cancer following long-term genital applications of talcum powder.
The Supreme Court ruling involved cases filed against pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. over injuries allegedly caused by its blood thinner Plavix. The cases were filed in California. The Supreme Court ruled that state courts are limited in their authority to hear claims against companies that are not based in the state when the alleged injuries did not occur there.
We fully intend to continue our efforts on behalf of our clients. Plaintiffs in the St. Louis talc trial included two from out of state and one man from Webster Groves, Missouri. Beasley Allen lawyer Ted Meadows had this to say:
It’s not the venue that makes it difficult for Johnson & Johnson and Imerys to win these trials, it’s the facts. After reviewing the Supreme Court ruling, and based on evidence and statements now in the record, we believe this litigation can go forward in Missouri courts. We plan to conduct additional discovery and depositions to confirm this position, and look forward to that opportunity. Our trial team remains confident that the evidence and the science remains on the side of our clients. We’re prepared to file these cases in courts across the nation should that be necessary, and believe that jurors will continue to carefully consider the clear link between talcum powder use and ovarian cancer.
The Supreme Court ruling overturns an earlier ruling by the California Supreme Court. Justice Sonia Sotomayor offered the lone dissent, saying the decision will make it more difficult for individual Plaintiffs to access the courts. Justice Sotomayor wrote of the decision:
It will make it impossible to bring a nationwide mass action in state court against defendants who are ‘at home’ in different states. And it will result in piecemeal litigation and the bifurcation of claims.
Our talc litigation team believes the Missouri cases will proceed and that the verdicts will stand. We will keep you fully advised on all developments.