Appeals court tosses $72 million award in talcum powder case
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri appeals court today that vacated a $72 million award to an Alabama woman who claimed her use of Johnson & Johnson products that contained talcum contributed to her ovarian cancer has thrown the fate of awards in similar cases into doubt.
The Missouri Eastern District Court's ruled that Missouri was not the proper jurisdiction to hear a lawsuit filed by Jacqueline Fox, 62, of Birmingham, Ala., who claimed the baby powder she used for feminine hygiene for about 25 years contributed to her cancer. She died in 2015, about four months before her case went to trial in St. Louis Circuit Court.
In February 2016, a jury awarded Fox $10 million in actual damages and $62 million in punitive damages – the first award in the lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson.
The appeals court cited a Supreme Court ruling in June that placed limits on where injury lawsuits could be filed, saying state courts cannot hear claims against companies not based in the state where alleged injuries occurred. The case involved suits against Bristol-Myers Squibb over the blood-thinning medication Plavix.
More than 1,000 others have filed similar lawsuits in St. Louis against Johnson & Johnson, which is based in Brunswick, N.J. In four of five trials held so far, jurors awarded more than $300 million combined. Only two of the 64 cases attached to Fox's case lived in Missouri.