According to Law360, Johnson and Johnson’s request to delay upcoming talc trials has been denied by the Missouri Court of Appeals. The next trial is scheduled to begin Feb. 6 in St. Louis. The case is brought by more than 60 women and family members who allege that the company’s talc-containing products cause ovarian cancer and that the company failed to warn them of this risk. Five other trials are scheduled to follow the one in February.
Johnson and Johnson questioned the jurisdiction of the 22nd Circuit Court in St. Louis as most of the 1,350 plaintiffs with pending claims are not Missouri residents and asked the appellate court to deny this jurisdiction, delaying the trials.
Chief Judge Angela T. Quigless denied the motion without further comment in a one-page order signed Jan. 3.
This isn’t the first time Johnson and Johnson has been denied in its attempt to change the jurisdiction for these trials. In September 2016, just a week before the third talc trial of the year was to choose jurors, J&J tried to have the trial removed to federal court claiming that the cases were “fraudulently misjoined in an effort to defeat diversity jurisdiction.”
The company had attempted to have the same group of 45 cases removed from state court in 2014. Both times U.S. District Judge Jean C. Hamilton found that the cases were sufficiently similar and could be tried jointly.
“Anyone has the constitutional right to bring a case in any jurisdiction, ” Ted Meadows, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said in a statement. “We’ve chosen St. Louis to file several talc-related claims because it’s a central location that makes sense for these women, many of whom are very ill and deserve to have their claims heard fairly, quickly and efficiently.”
“Juries this past year delivered eye-popping multimillion-dollar verdicts for the plaintiffs in several similar cases, and attorneys anticipate that the fights over the powder have only just begun,” Law360 reported.