A Missouri appellate court rejected a previous jury’s $55 million award in the case of a South Dakota woman who alleged that it was talc-based powders; including Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder, that allegedly led to her development of ovarian cancer. The tossing of the verdict was not, however, a referendum on whether the allegations were accurate. Instead, the court threw out the verdict because of new mandates and limitations on where corporations can be sued for injuries allegedly caused by their products.
In 2017, a decision from the United States Supreme Court limited patients’ abilities to sue corporations not based in the states in which the lawsuits were filed, or states not directly related to the patients’ injuries. In the case of this particular trial, Johnson & Johnson is headquartered in New Jersey and the plaintiff used the products that allegedly caused her disease in the states of South Dakota and Minnesota. The case was one of over 60 that had been consolidated in a Missouri court. Of the 60 cases in the Missouri consolidation, only one plaintiff was actually a Missouri resident.
Whether or not so-called “venue shopping” as the practice has been labeled by opponents, is as big of a problem as some claim, the fact remains that there are still significant questions that need to be answered regarding the safety of talc-based baby powders – particularly those sold by the world’s largest healthcare products manufacturer. These are products that have been used in American homes for decades. And, with allegations swirling of corporate cover-ups as well as links to not only ovarian cancer but also asbestos-induced mesothelioma, people deserve to have these accusations addressed and their questions answered.