Law 360 reports that on Oct. 31, the estate of Jacqueline Fox, the first Missouri talc plaintiff last year who won a $72 million verdict against Johnson and Johnson, has asked a Missouri court of appeals to reconsider its decision made earlier in October to overrule the high-profile verdict. In February 2016, a St. Louis jury had found Johnson and Johnson to be responsible for Fox’s ovarian cancer death and awarded one million dollars in punitive damages for every year of Fox’s life.
The court’s decision to overturn the verdict was based on the U.S. Supreme Court’s June ruling in Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California. The court said Alabama-resident Fox’s case should never have been tried in Missouri. Her claims, along with the claims of dozens of other women, had been consolidated with the claims of two Missouri residents.
“On Oct. 17 a three-judge panel of the Missouri Court of Appeals’ Eastern District found that St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Rex Burlison erred in taking personal jurisdiction over Fox’s claims,” Law360 reports.
Her estate is not contesting the court’s interpretation of the Supreme Court ruling, but says that future talc plaintiffs already pending in Missouri are being allowed the chance to re-argue for jurisdiction under the new law with new arguments and evidence, and that “fundamental fairness and due process” require that she should be allowed the same opportunity before trial court or the state Supreme Court.
“There are several other cases pending in the original action. Those cases that have not yet been tried will have an opportunity to submit new proof to establish personal jurisdiction. It hardly seems equitable to deprive the plaintiff here of the very opportunity that she made necessary for the later-in-line plaintiffs,” they said.
“We accept the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court’s Bristol-Myers Squibb ruling changed the jurisdictional requirements 17 months after the Fox verdict,” Ted Meadows of Beasley Allen, one of the attorneys for the estate, said in a statement. “But what we cannot accept are Johnson & Johnson’s attempts to use that ruling to evade justice and deny the Fox family the opportunity to prove their claim meets the criteria of the BMS ruling.”