Talc Manufacturer’s Motion to Quash Granted Based on Lack of Specific Personal Jurisdiction

In this California case, the plaintiffs allege that the decedent, Oscar Villanueva, was exposed to asbestos contaminated talc from the use of Old Spice Talcum powder.   Defendant Whittaker, Clark & Daniels, Inc. (WCD) was one of the suppliers of talc to Shulton, Inc. (Shulton), the former manufacturer of the Old Spice product. WCD moved to quash for lack of personal jurisdiction and the court allowed plaintiffs the opportunity of jurisdictional discovery.

Following the discovery, the court granted WCD’s motion to quash. In its analysis, the court highlighted that only “specific” jurisdiction was at issue and the plaintiffs failed to meet their burden to demonstrate sufficient facts to justify the exercise of such jurisdiction. The court went on to list multiple reasons plaintiffs failed to meet their burden including the following:   ack of evidence that WCD sold talc to Shulton in California; lack of evidence that Shulton used WCD talc in its product in California; even assuming WCD talc was used in in the Old Spice product, there was no evidence that WCD was the exclusive or majority supplier of talc; and lack of evidence that decedent used an Old Spice product that contained WCD talc as opposed to another supplier’s talc.  The court also found the plaintiffs’ stream of commerce argument unavailing as “at least two California appellate decisions … hold that the ‘stream of commerce’ theory lacks merit as to specific jurisdiction.”

Read the full decision here.