Earlier this month, pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson celebrated after obtaining a Missouri Court of Appeals reversed a $72 million verdict against the company. This is a huge win for a company that currently has thousands of lawsuits pending throughout the country over its talc-based products. The women and families of deceased women bringing these lawsuits allege Johnson & Johnson knew its talcum powder had a risk of causing ovarian cancer and, despite that knowledge, failed to warn its consumers of that risk. In the St. Louis area alone, there have been four jury verdicts totaling $307 million. Johnson & Johnson is in the process of appealing the other three as well.
In reversing this jury verdict, the Missouri Court of Appeals relied on a U.S. Supreme Court decision limiting the jurisidictions in which personal injury lawsuits could be filed. The appeals court reasoned that Jacquelin Fox, an Alabama resident, should not have been able to file her case in St. Louis because she was an out-of-state plaintiff.
This is a big win for big pharma as it prevents plaintiffs from being able to file their claims in more favorable jurisdictions (i.e. places where they are more likely to win and get a big verdict). It is estimated that there are almost 5,000 other pending cases filed against the Johnson & Johnson. In addition to the $307 million awarded in St. Louis courtrooms, the company was also hit with a $417 million verdict in California. The effects of this decision remain to be seen, but you can bet that Johnson & Johnson will do everything in their power to avoid having to pay these huge verdicts.
Despite this recent decision, Leeseberg & Valentine remains committed to helping those that are injured as a result of the deceitful conduct of pharmaceutical giants like Johnson & Johnson. Please do not hesitate to contact our office today for a risk free consultation if you believe you may have a case.