New Jersey Talc Manufacturer’s Motion to Dismiss New York Case With Exposure In Virginia Granted Supreme Court of the State of New York, New York County, July 27, 2018

NEW YORK — The plaintiffs sued Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and Johnson and Johnson Consumer Inc. (JJCI), alleging that Mrs. Hammock’s exposure to asbestos-containing J&J baby powder caused her to develop mesothelioma. Mrs. Hammock was a Virginia resident her entire life, and all of her alleged exposure took place in Virginia.  

JJCI is the sole entity responsible for manufacturing and distributing J&J baby powder during the subject time period. JJCI is a New Jersey Corporation  with its principal place of business in New Jersey. JJCI does not manufacture, research, develop, design, or test J&J Baby Powder in New York. Neither J&J or JJCI are registered to do business in New York. 

The J&J Entities moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s Amended Complaint and all Cross-Claims against them pursuant to CPLR 3211(a)(8) and CPLR 327 (a), contending that the court did not have personal jurisdiction over them because Mrs. Hammock’s exposures occurred outside of the State of New York, J&J and JJCI are not incorporated in New York and do not maintain their principal places of business there, and therefore, no general jurisdiction exists. The J&J Entities further contended that the plaintiff’s claims do not arise from any of the J&J Entities New York transactions, and the J&J Entities did not commit a tortious act within the State of New York or without the state of New York that caused an injury to person or property within the State of New York and therefore, no specific jurisdiction exists.

The plaintiff opposed the motion, stating that the court does have personal general jurisdiction and long-arm jurisdiction over the J&J Entities.

The court held that it did not have general personal jurisdiction over JJCI because it is not incorporated, nor does it have its principal place of business in the State of New York.  Additionally, the same reasoning applies to J&J.  Furthermore, the plaintiff’s contention that J&J subjected itself to general jurisdiction because of several isolated events that J&J was involved in was rejected.

The court further held that it could not exercise specific personal jurisdiction because “there is no articulable nexus or substantial relationship between the J&J Entities New York conduct and the claims asserted.” The plaintiff admitted that the product was purchased in Virginia, and the injuries asserted by the plaintiff did not arise out of any of J&J’s activity within the state of New York. Therefore, J&J did not commit a tortious act in New York. 

The court granted J&J’s and JJCI’s motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s second amended complaint and all cross-claims against it for lack of personal jurisdiction and severed and dismissed all claims against the two entities. 

 

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