Missouri appeals court tosses out $72 million Johnson & Johnson talcum powder verdict

The Missouri Eastern District appeals court on Tuesday threw out a $72 million jury verdict for a woman who claimed her longtime use of baby powder and other Johnson & Johnson products contributed to ovarian cancer that killed her.

The ruling could jeopardize three other recent St. Louis jury verdicts of more than $200 million combined against the New Jersey-based health care giant, which has also appealed the cases.

In a statement, a Johnson & Johnson spokeswoman said the company is pleased with the opinion and is continuing its appeals.

“In the cases involving nonresident plaintiffs who sued in the state of Missouri, we consistently argued that there was no jurisdiction and we expect the existing verdicts that we are appealing to be reversed,” the statement said.

The appeals court Tuesday ruled 3-0 that Jacqueline Fox’s lawsuit lacked jurisdiction in Missouri because of a U.S. Supreme Court decision in June that imposed limits on where injury lawsuits can be filed. The Bristol-Myers Squibb case said non-California residents could not file claims there against the New York-based maker of the blood thinner Plavix, ruling that establishing a lawsuit’s jurisdiction requires a stronger connection between the forum state and a plaintiff’s claims.

Fox, 62, of Birmingham, Ala., died in 2015, about four months before her trial was held in St. Louis Circuit Court. She was among 65 plaintiffs — of whom only two were from Missouri — who joined in the lawsuit. A jury in February 2016 awarded her $10 million in actual damages and $62 million in punitive damages.

Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch


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