Lack of Personal Jurisdiction Eliminates $110 Million Dollar Verdict Against Talc Defendants Missouri Appellate Court, October 15, 2019

MISSOURI — $110 million verdict against talc defendants Johnson and Johnson and Imerys Talc North America was overturned by a Missouri appellate court this week. The plaintiff Lois Slemp filed suit against the defendants alleging that she developed ovarian cancer as a result of her use of Johnson and Johnson’s talcum powder products for over 40 years. The trial court found personal jurisdiction based on evidence that a Missouri-based company was used to “manufacture, mislabel and package” the products. Applying the Bristol Myers Squibb decision…
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Insurer of Long Defunct Employer May Be Held Liable Under “Enhanced Benefits” in Worker’s Compensation Statute Missouri Court of Appeals, E.D., May 21, 2019

MISSOURI – The plaintiff passed from mesothelioma in 2015 as a result of alleged exposure to asbestos while working at Valley Farm Dairy Company. Specifically, it was alleged that Vincent Hegger encountered lots of industrial equipment, including fireboxes, boilers, and ammonia compressors while working at Valley Farm. Prior to his passing, Hegger and his children submitted a claim for worker’s compensation under the recently amended statute. The administrative law judge found that the plaintiff could not “elect” coverage under the amended statute because Valley Farm…
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Missouri on Brink of Passing Updated Venue and Joinder Statute

MISSOURI — On Wednesday, May 1, 2019, the Missouri House of Representatives voted in favor of a bill, already approved in the State Senate, that would change the rules for joinder and venue in the state.  The bill, which is expected to be signed by Governor Mike Parson, has potentially far-reaching implications in one of the busiest mass tort case jurisdictions in the country. At its core, the measure would require individuals to bring a claim where they live, where they were injured, or the…
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Court Denies Talc Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss and Motion to Transfer U.S. District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division, March 15, 2019

In Shawnee D. Douglas v. Imerys Talc America, Inc., et al., Johnson & Johnson filed a motion to dismiss for improper venue, and in the alternative, motion to transfer. This involves a plaintiff alleging that she suffers from malignant peritoneal mesothelioma as a result of her exposure to asbestos from talc-based products. The lawsuit was originally filed in the Twenty-Second Judicial Circuit, City of St. Louis. Johnson & Johnson removed the case to federal court on the grounds that diversity of citizenship exists because…
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Plaintiff’s Motion to Remand Denied Due to Fraudulent Joinder of Talc Defendant U.S. District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division, February 14, 2019

MISSOURI — The plaintiff Shawnee D. Douglas originally filed suit against multiple entities, contending that her use of talc product caused her malignant mesothelioma. Johnson & Johnson (J&J) removed the case to federal court on the grounds that diversity of citizenship exists because, inter alia, the only Missouri-based defendant, PTI Union, was “fraudulently joined.” Numerous motions were filed by the parties, including: Imerys Talc America, Inc.’s Motion to Dismiss the plaintiff’s Petition for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction, the plaintiff’s Emergency Motion to Remand with…
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St. Louis City – The Gateway Arch to Mammoth Talc Verdicts

MISSOURI – The city of St. Louis, Missouri, has traditionally been an unfavorable venue for defendants, particularly for those involved in allegations of personal injury or death due to cancer caused by asbestos or talc exposure. Until recently, these two causative agents – asbestos and talc – were separate materials for purposes of personal injury or wrongful death claims. In July 2018 these two theories merged in the first trial which heard that plaintiffs’ claims of ovarian cancer were caused in part by asbestos-contaminated talc.…
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St. Louis Jury Renders $4.69 Billion Verdict Against Johnson & Johnson in Talc Trial St. Louis Circuit Court, July 12, 2018

MISSOURI — On July 12, 2018, a St. Louis Circuit Court jury rendered a verdict against Johnson & Johnson in less than eight hours of deliberation following a six week trial involving 22 plaintiffs who alleged their ovarian cancer was caused by J&J talc products.  The jury awarded $25 million to each plaintiff, for a total of $550 million in compensatory damages, and found J&J liable on counts of strict liability and negligence.  The jury then spent less than two hours deliberating the punitive damages…
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Federal Court Collaterally Estops Claims in Separate Disease Case U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, Eastern Division, January 30, 2018

MISSOURI — Over a period of six years, plaintiff Berj Hovsepian filed two separate actions for two separate diseases, asbestosis and mesothelioma, arising out of his work with various products as a civilian employee of the United States Navy in Boston from 1958-1964. The current action sits in federal court, having been removed from a December 2015 case filed in state court in Missouri. The court granted defendant Ingersoll-Rand’s summary judgment motion on collateral estoppel for the reasons discussed below. In December of 2009, Hovsepian…
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Plaintiffs’ Motion for Reconsideration of Dismissals Based Upon Lack of Personal Jurisdiction Denied U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, January 11, 2018

MISSOURI — On June 27, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri granted several defendants’ motions to dismiss based upon a lack of personal jurisdiction. The plaintiffs subsequently filed a motion to reconsider due to an intervening change in the law, specifically the U.S. Supreme Court’s Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) opinion issued on June 19, 2017. The court noted that such motions, filed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59, cannot be used to raise arguments which could have been raised…
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Reversal of $72 Million Ovarian Cancer/Talc Verdict on Jurisdiction May Lead to Fewer Asbestos Filings in Missouri Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, October 17, 2017

MISSOURI — In a case that could lead to fewer asbestos filings in Missouri, Johnson and Johnson successfully argued that the trial court lacked personal jurisdiction over it after a $72 million dollar plaintiff verdict in an ovarian cancer / talc case. Plaintiff Jacqueline Fox was one of 65 plaintiffs who filed suit against Johnson and Johnson (J and J) and Imerys Talc. J and J is a New Jersey resident and Imerys is a Delaware corporation. Both were sued in Missouri. The plaintiffs alleged…
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