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Supreme Court Ruling Puts Plaintiffs in Talc Lawsuits at Disadvantage

The US Supreme Court’s recent ruling concerning injury lawsuits could work in favor of Johnson & Johnson concerning the lawsuits the company faces regarding its talc-based hygiene products. There are currently more than 5900 claims against the company filed by women and their families who claim Johnson & Johnson failed to warn consumers the products were linked to cancer.

The Supreme Court ruling came in a case that involved Bristol-Myers Squibb Co and stated the courts cannot hear claims against companies that are not based in the state when the alleged injuries did not occur there. One fifth of the Johnson & Johnson cases are pending in St. Louis and involve out-of-state plaintiffs suing an out-of-state company. To date, Johnson & Johnson had won only one of its five trials in Missouri, and the company had gone as far as asking to have talc cases moved out of St. Louis, calling the St. Louis court system “overly plaintiff-friendly” after it allowed evidence linking talc to cancer that had previously been rejected by a New Jersey state court judge. The request to move the cases was denied by the Supreme Court in January.

SCOTUS Ruling Affected Talc Cases Immediately

In response to the ruling, a St. Louis judge immediately declared a mistrial in one of the in-progress cases that involved two of three out-of-state women. The judge did allow the opportunity for plaintiffs to argue they still had jurisdiction, so the matter isn’t completely settled. However, the Supreme Court ruling is expected to affect prior verdicts, as well as other cases that have yet to go to trial.

The ruling came after much debate. Companies have stated they do not want plaintiffs to be able to “shop around” for the most favorable court in which to file their lawsuit, but injured parties claim this is just an attempt to deny access to justice for victims.

In addition to the Johnson & Johnson talc cases, this ruling could also affect cases related to Bayer AG’s Essure birth control device, GlaxoSmithKline’s antidepressant medication, Paxil, and other drug and medical device injury lawsuits.

Victims Should Have a Right to Take Action

Unfortunately, it is likely victims of dangerous products will suffer as a result of this recent Supreme Court ruling. It gives more power to the companies creating these products and limits the resources available to plaintiffs. Fewer victims could receive the compensation they deserve as a result of the ruling.

We’ve worked with many clients who suffered as the result of a faulty or dangerous product. We understand how stressful it can be to deal with large companies that seem to hold all the power, and are able to take advantage of you all over again, even though you were victimized.

If you have questions about whether you are eligible to take legal action because you were harmed by a product, drug, or medical device, or you want to know more about this recent Supreme Court ruling, contact Heavens Law at 888.897.5377 for a free consultation.

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