Judge Upholds $110M Talcum Powder Jury Award Against J&J


A Missouri judge has upheld the $110 million jury award to a Virginia woman who claimed that decades of daily use of Johnson & Johnson's (NYSE: JNJ) talcum powder products caused her ovarian cancer.

After a review of post-trial evidence, Judge Rex M. Burlison of the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court has ruled that proper jurisdiction can be established in the state based on the significant role played by Union, Missouri-based PharmaTech in the processing, labeling, packaging and distribution of Johnson's Baby Powder and Shower to Shower products. The May, 2017 verdict was called into question following the U.S. Supreme Court's Bristol Myers Squibb ruling, which established new, stringent jurisdictional standards for lawsuits filed by out-of-state plaintiffs.

"Upon review of the record and the standard as enunciated in Bristol Myers, the Court finds that Plaintiffs have sufficiently established that specific personal jurisdiction exists…" wrote Judge Burlison in a 12-page opinion issued on November 29.

During the trial, the plaintiff, Lois Slemp, alleged that more than four decades of using talc-containing feminine hygiene products, including Johnson's Baby Powder and Shower to Shower, led to the development of her cancer. Initially diagnosed in 2012, Ms. Slemp endured surgery and seven months of chemotherapy to combat the disease. Due to her physical condition she was only able to testify through an audio recording of her deposition.

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