Mistrial Threatens Chances of Talcum Powder Plaintiffs
The outcome of nationwide talcum powder litigation has been blown wide open by a Missouri judge’s decision to declare a mistrial. St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison announced his ruling late last month after Johnson & Johnson filed a request to reconsider the case. His decision threatens talcum powder plaintiffs past and present.
The decision comes in the wake of a Supreme Court ruling that limits the ability of state courts to rule on cases brought to them by nonresidents, or where a case involves a company not based in that state.
Although the SCOTUS decision is widely seen as a win for corporate interests, it will not completely remove the legal challenges faced by many large pharmaceutical companies. Johnson & Johnson (J&J) will still have to face the remaining complaints against its product from residents of Missouri, for example.
More concerning for existing talcum powder plaintiffs is the fact that previous rulings against the company could be overturned.
That includes some significant outlays that J&J would love to recoup. The most recent ruling alone, awarded to a woman from Virginia, would see the company claw back $110 million. Add in several other double-digit awards in the millions and the value starts climbing towards the half-billion dollar mark. The damage to talcum powder’s reputation is already done, but the money is all that will matter as far as J&J’s shareholders are concerned.
The damage to talcum powder’s reputation is already done, but the money is all that will matter as far as J&J’s shareholders are concerned. Talcum powder plaintiffs face a renewed battle to see justice done. For many that will mean standing up once again for loved ones they have lost to cancer. It’s not a battle they asked for, but Johnson & Johnson can be sure it’s one they’ll continue to fight in any court that they’re sent to.
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