Mistrial declared in talcum powder suit after Supreme Court limits where companies can be sued

A St. Louis judge declared a mistrial Monday in a talcum powder trial underway in St. Louis Circuit Court after the U.S. Supreme Court imposed limits on where injury lawsuits may be filed.

It was the second time in three weeks that the high court had sided with businesses that want to prevent plaintiffs from “venue shopping” for friendly courts for their cases.

In an 8-1 ruling, the justices overturned a lower court’s decision that had allowed hundreds of out-of-state patients who took Bristol-Myers Squibb’s blood-thinning medication Plavix to sue the company in California.

State courts cannot hear claims against companies that are not based in the state when the alleged injuries did not occur there, the justices ruled.

The Supreme Court on May 30 reached a similar conclusion in a separate case involving out-of-state injury claims against Texas-based BNSF Railway Co.

The mistrial in St. Louis was declared in a trial that started June 5 in front of St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison. A Webster Groves man and two out-of-state plaintiffs sued Johnson & Johnson and its supplier Imerys Talc America over a claim that talcum powder in its products caused ovarian cancer.

Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch


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