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Johnson & Johnson wins appeal in $72 million talc cancer risk verdict

18 October 2017

While J&J says it is confident its appeals will be successful, Jim Onder-who represents a number of the plaintiffs in the lawsuits-asserts that Missouri is a proper locations because J&J packages and labels some products in the state.

The verdict was overturned because of a recent Supreme Court ruling on where injury lawsuits can be filed. Consequently, in the Johnson & Johnson lawsuit, only 2 out of the 65 plaintiffs resided in Missouri.

Three other juries have ruled against Johnson & Johnson in similar lawsuits in Missouri. A spokeswoman said the company has consistently argued that Missouri had no jurisdiction in cases involving non-residents and the company expects the existing judgments that are going through the appeals process to be reversed. The Bristol-Myers Squibb case said non-California residents could not file claims there against the New York-based maker of the blood thinner Plavix, ruling that establishing a lawsuit's jurisdiction requires a stronger connection between the forum state and a plaintiff's claims.

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A Birmingham family sued Johnson & Johnson over a family member's ovarian cancer, and initially was awarded millions of dollars.

Alabama resident Jacqueline Fox died in 2015 at the age of 62. The $72 million awarded to Fox by jurors included $10 million in compensatory damages and $62 million in punitive damages.

J&J said it is pleased with the ruling. It involves the Missourian, Michael Blaes of Webster Groves, whose wife died of ovarian cancer.

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This was the first award in several cases that claim Johnson & Johnson's talcum powder contributed to their diagnoses. Johnson & Johnson claimed the studies were not reliable.

The Supreme Court said state courts could not hear claims by non-residents who were not injured in that particular state and where the defendant company was not based in that state.

Johnson & Johnson appealed, and the verdict was thrown out on Tuesday.

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The cases of Fox and other plaintiffs from outside the state were joined with those of plaintiffs from Missouri, though each case resulting in a verdict has been tried individually.

Johnson & Johnson wins appeal in $72 million talc cancer risk verdict