A judge in Missouri has upheld a $110 million verdict awarded to a Virginia woman who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer linked to the of talcum powder products sold by Johnson & Johnson. The verdict in the case had been called into question following a Supreme Court ruling earlier this year that imposed stricter standards for lawsuits filed by out of state plaintiffs.
The lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson was filed by Lois Slemp, who is one of 59 talcum powder users that are part of a multi-plaintiff case filed against J&J in Missouri state court. Johnson & Johnson is also facing about 2,000 talcum powder lawsuits filed in state courts around the country, as well as about 3,500 federal lawsuits that are part of a multidistrict litigation organized in New Jersey.
In her lawsuit, Slemp alleged that she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer after four decades of using Johnson’s Baby Powder, Shower to Shower, and other Johnson & Johnson feminine hygiene products containing talc. Slemp was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012. She subsequently underwent surgery and chemotherapy in order to treat her cancer, and was forced to testify at the trial via audio recording due to the severity of her condition.
Lawyers representing Slemp alleged that Johnson & Johnson had known for decades about the link between using talc products for feminine hygiene and an increased risk of ovarian cancer. The attorneys also argued that Johnson & Johnson had pressured the FDA not to add a warning about the potential cancer risk associated with talcum powder products.
Following a trial, jurors in the case ordered Johnson & Johnson and talc supplier Imerys Talc America to pay $110 million in damage to Lois Slemp over her cancer diagnosis. The verdict was the fourth legal defeat for Johnson & Johnson in the Missouri talc litigation, pushing the company’s total damages over $300 million.
One month after the verdict in Lois Slemp’s talcum powder lawsuit, the Supreme Court issued a ruling that called the outcome of the case into question. In Bristol-Myers Squibb v. Superior Court of California, the Supreme Court placed severe restrictions on lawsuits filed by out-of-state plaintiffs.
Johnson & Johnson filed an appeal in Missouri appellate court seeking to have the verdict in Slemp’s case overturned. Lawyers for the pharmaceutical giant argued that the Supreme Court’s ruling showed that the Missouri court in which Slemp’s lawsuit was heard did not have jurisdiction in the case that the $110 million verdict that she was awarded should be overturned.
However, Circuit Judge Rex M. Burlison ruled that the Missouri court that heard Slemp’s lawsuit did have jurisdiction in the case because of the role played by a Missouri company in the manufacturing of Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products. Judge Burlison ruled that because the Missouri-based PTI Union LLC was involved in manufacturing, labeling, and packaging talc products sold by Johnson & Johnson, Slemp’s case was eligible to be heard in Missouri court.
Legal experts say that Judge Burlison’s ruling may help save hundreds of other lawsuits filed against Johnson & Johnson in Missouri by out-of-state plaintiffs. About 1,500 of the 2,000 lawsuit filed in state courts around the U.S. were filed in Missouri. Experts say that because many of these cases have not gone to trial, attorneys will be able to present evidence of the cases’ connection to Missouri that may enable the claims against Johnson & Johnson to continue to move forward.
If you or a loved one have used Johnson’s Baby Powder, Shower to Shower, or other talcum powder products sold by Johnson & Johnson and were diagnosed with ovarian cancer, you may qualify to file a lawsuit. The first step in taking legal action is to consult with an attorney to learn more about your legal rights and find out whether you may qualify to file a case.
The lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson currently represent dozens of women who have contracted ovarian cancer following long-term exposure to talcum powder. Our firm has also filed hundreds of lawsuits on behalf of consumers who were injured by dangerous drugs and other commercial products. At Heygood, Orr & Pearson, we believe that consumers are injured by dangerous or defective medical products, the companies who sold these products should be held accountable for their negligence in a court of law.
For more information about the talcum powder litigation against Johnson & Johnson and to find out whether you may qualify to file a claim, contact the lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001. You can also reach us by filling out our free case evaluation form at the top of this page.