Supreme Court Ruling Results in Talc Lawsuit Mistrial

Associated Press/KMOX

ST. LOUIS (KMOX/AP) – The U.S. Supreme Court Monday issued a ruling that sides with businesses looking to prevent the practice of “shopping” for friendly courtrooms.

In an 8 – 1 ruling, justices say state courts cannot hear claims against companies that are not based in the state when the alleged injuries did not occur there. One of the cases involved suits against Bristol-Myers Squibb over the blood-thinning medication Plavix.

James Onder, who has represented out-of-state plaintiffs suing Johnson & Johnson over the use of talcum powder, isn’t that concerned over the High Court’s decision.

“As applied to our case, we think we can prove specific jurisdiction,” Onder says. “Johnson & Johnson Union, Missouri removed the warning labels, put fragrance, put it in bottles, and failed to transfer or put a warning onto the product.”

Onder believes they may have jurisdiction in Missouri for current and future cases.

Four of the five trials held locally since early 2016 have ended with more than $300 million in verdicts against Johnson & Johnson, but those may be in jeopardy.

He tells KMOX News those cases should stand up to the Supreme Court’s decision that out-of-state lawsuits are null and void.

“I think realistically I think the outcome of those may very well be that their remanded back to the state court to determine whether there is specific jurisdiction,” Onder says. “If there is, I think that judgments will be affirmed.”

Following the high court’s ruling a St. Louis judge Monday declared a mistrial in a current case against the company.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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