Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C., has been selected as a finalist for the 2016 Public Justice Trial Lawyer of the Year award for our work on litigation related to Johnson & Johnson talcum powder and its link to an increased risk of ovarian cancer. Nominees are Jere L. Beasley, Ted G. Meadows, David P. Dearing and Brittany Scott from Beasley Allen, along with R. Allen Smith, Jr., of The Smith Law Firm from Ridgeland, Miss.; and Stephanie Rados, James G. Onder, Michael J. Quillin and W. Wylie Blair of the St. Louis firm Onder, Shelton, O’Leary & Peterson, LLC. The trial team led the litigation against Johnson & Johnson, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc., and Imerys Talc America, Inc.
On May 2, a jury in City of St. Louis Circuit Court found Johnson & Johnson liable for ovarian cancer linked to genital use of its talcum powder products. The jurors awarded Gloria Ristesund $55 million, which included $5 million in actual damages and $50 million in punitive damages. Earlier, in February, another jury awarded the family of Jacqueline Fox $72 million, holding Johnson & Johnson liable for her ovarian cancer death. In that verdict, $62 million was punitive damages. The purpose of awarding punitive damages is to punish a company for wrongdoing and to compel it to change its actions.
This is the second time Beasley Allen attorneys have been nominated for this award. The trial team that worked on Toyota litigation related to sudden unintended acceleration were nominated for the 2014 Public Justice Trial Lawyer of the Year Award. That trial team included Jere L. Beasley, J. Cole Portis, R. Graham Esdale, and Benjamin E. Baker of Beasley Allen; Larry Tawwater of The Tawwater Law Firm in Oklahoma City, Okla.; and Paul Martin of Martin Jean Jackson in Ponca City, Okla. This team led the charge against Toyota on behalf of the Bookout and Schwarz families. Bookout v. Toyota Motor Corp. was the first suit to go to trial against Toyota tying sudden unintended acceleration to electronic throttle control problems.
Public Justice pursues high impact lawsuits to combat social and economic injustice, protect the Earth’s sustainability, and challenge predatory corporate conduct and government abuses. Public Justice presents its Trial Lawyer of the Year Award to the attorney(s) who made the greatest contribution to the public interest within the past year by trying or settling a precedent-setting, socially significant case. The finalists will be honored and the award presented at the annual Public Justice gala at the Millennium Biltmore in Los Angeles, on July 24, 2016. A full list of the nominees and more information can be found at www.publicjustice.net.