J&J welcomes US Supreme Court ruling in Baby Powder cases
JOHNSON & Johnson is seizing upon a US Supreme Court ruling from Monday limiting where injury lawsuits can be filed to fight off claims it failed to warn women that talcum powder could cause ovarian cancer.
The New Jersey-based company has been battling a series of lawsuits over its talc-based products, including Johnson’s Baby Powder, brought by around 5 950 women and their families.
The company denies any link between talc and cancer.
A fifth of the plaintiffs have cases pending in state court in St Louis, where juries in four trials have hit J&J and a talc supplier with $307 million (R4 billion) in verdicts.
Those four cases and most of the others on the St Louis docket involve out-of-state plaintiffs suing an out-of-state company.
On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled 8-1 in a case involving Bristol-Myers Squibb that state courts cannot hear claims against companies that are not based in the state when the alleged injuries did not occur there.
The ruling immediately led a St Louis judge at J&J’s urging to declare a mistrial in the latest talc case, in which two of the three women at issue were from out of state. It also could imperil prior verdicts and cases that have yet to go to trial.
Bottles of Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder line a shelf. The talcbased product is alleged to cause ovarian cancer.