JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Johnson & Johnson successfully appealed to bring a case to the Missouri Supreme Court to determine the proper venue for talcum powder lawsuits, according to Missourinet.
For several years, talcum powder lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson have been litigated in St. Louis City Court, but now, the pharmaceutical giant is arguing that there needs to be stronger ties between the court location and plaintiffs’ claims.
The issue arose mainly out of the case of Shawn Blaes, a St. Louis-area woman who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2008 and died in 2010 at age 50. She was a regular user of Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products for over 30 years.
Michael Blaes, Shawn’s husband, began legal action in 2014, initially in St. Louis County, where Shawn was first exposed to the talc products. When the case was subsequently moved to federal circuit court, Blaes filed a motion for voluntary dismissal.
Johnson & Johnson contends that Blaes filed the motion because he thought a favorable result would be more likely in a local court, as reported by Missourinet.
At that time, the St. Louis City Court had recently awarded the family of deceased talcum powder user Jacqueline Fox $72 million in damages.
The federal court granted the dismissal, and Blaes then joined the St. Louis city litigation that included dozens of other plaintiffs. These cases are grouped together in what’s known as the Swann case, named after the original plaintiff from St. Louis city, Valerie Swann.
Blaes’ case in St. Louis city initially went to trial in June 2017, but Johnson & Johnson quickly argued for a mistrial. The company was successful, and presiding Judge Rex M. Burlison ordered the case to be rescheduled and tried seperately. Johnson & Johnson filed to have the venue changed to the St. Louis County Court, as that is where Shawn Blaes had used the talcum powder product.
Judge Burlison denied the defendant’s motion, but the state Supreme Court granted a request to hear the case on appeal.
The legal team for Judge Burlison argued that the current law simply does not call for the Blaes case to be severed from the City Court. They also argued that separating the Blaes case would have it effectively serve as a bellwether trial, which is a practice typically used in multi-party cases when a few cases are selected to go to trial.
However, the legal team for Johnson & Johnson claimed that St. Louis simply became a default venue when dozens of out-of-state cases were lumped together with the one that originated in the city. They argued that without a tie to the city, St. Louis is an improper venue for those cases, according to Missourinet.
J & J’s attorney said it’s obvious that the Blaes case should be tried in St. Louis County, as that is where the talcum powder product was purchased and used. The company claims that the plaintiff Blaes has been attempting to get the case tried in St. Louis City Court, because he believes that venue is particularly friendly to plaintiffs and will help him secure a large verdict, a phenomenon the company’s attorneys call “forum-shopping.”
Interestingly, the $72 million award in the Fox case was overturned by the Missouri Eastern District appeals court last October, because the panel decided that the lawsuit lacked jurisdiction in Missouri.
Can Talcum Powder Cause Ovarian Cancer?
Millions of women have used baby powder and Shower to Shower body powder in their genital area throughout their lifetime.
It was a personal hygiene ritual for many women passed on from their own mothers. At the time, there was no reason to suspect that this product — applied to the skin — could cause serious harm or injury. The baby powder bottle and packaging had no information that the powder contained talc or that it could cause cancer.
Concerns about the safety of talcum powder were called into question decades ago, but it was not until recently that various medical studies have determined a link between the powder and ovarian cancer, among other serious conditions.
In June 2013, Cancer Prevention Research published a study that found women who used talcum powder for personal hygiene had a 20-30 percent greater chance of developing ovarian cancer than women who did not use talcum powder. Since the study was published, additional studies have noted similar results.
In May 2015, the International Journal of Gynecological Cancer published studies that found talc use increased the risk of ovarian cancer by 30-60%.
The connection between talc and ovarian cancer was made stronger when scientists discovered talc minerals inside cancerous tumors removed from women’s bodies.
What are the Criteria for Filing a Talcum Powder Lawsuit?
As many as 2,200 cases of ovarian cancer diagnosed each year may have been caused by regular use of talcum powder.
Talc is a mineral made of up various elements including magnesium, silicon and oxygen. Talc is ground to make talcum powder which is used to absorb moisture and is widely available in various products including baby powder and adult products including body and facial powder.
Talc products used regularly in the genital area increase the risk of ovarian cancer.
In February 2016, a jury found Johnson & Johnson knew of the cancer risks associated with its talc products but failed to warn consumers, and awarded the family of our client $72 million. She died of ovarian cancer after using J&J talc-containing products for more than 30 years.
The criteria for filing a talcum powder lawsuit include the following:
- Must be female
- Regularly used Johnson’s Baby Powder or Shower to Shower Body Powder in the genital area
- Has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer
How Can I File A Talcum Powder Lawsuit?
Our dangerous drug attorneys can help if you or someone you care about was harmed by talcum powder. Lawsuits have been filed against Johnson & Johnson and Valeant Pharmaceutical International, Inc. by both women and their families seeking compensation for injuries caused by this dangerous product.
We will get all of the medical records, investigate the claim and determine if you can file a talcum powder lawsuit against the controversial drug manufacturers. If you have a case, we will file your lawsuit and take care of everything start to finish.
Our lawyers do not charge any legal fees unless you receive a settlement and we pay all of the case costs. If your claim is not successful for any reason, you do not owe us anything. We put it in all in writing for you.
Our No-Fee Promise On Talcum Powder Lawsuits
You can afford to have our great team of lawyers on your side. When you choose us, it literally costs nothing to get started. We promise you in writing:
- No money to get started
- We pay all case costs and expenses
- No legal fees whatsoever unless you receive a settlement
- Phone calls are always free.
How Do I Start A Talcum Powder Claim?
Our talcum powder lawyers will help you file your lawsuit. To get started, you can:
- Submit the Free Case Review Box on this page, or
- Call (866) 280-3417 any time of day to tell us about your case.
We will listen to your story and answer your questions. If you have claim, we will start immediately.
WARNING: There are strict time deadlines for filing talcum powder lawsuit claims. Call now to get your claim filed and receive a settlement.