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Missouri Chamber among groups asking for Missouri Supreme Court review of Johnson & Johnson case

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In 2018, a St. Louis court ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay nearly $4.7 billion in damages and punitive damages to plaintiffs who claimed the company’s talcum powder caused cancer. In June, the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Eastern District upheld the verdict, but reduced the damages awarded in the case.

The Missouri Chamber, alongside the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Tort Reform Association, continues to have concerns about the case. The group has filed an amicus brief in support of transferring the case to the Missouri Supreme Court for further review.

The brief pinpoints three issues the group believes are inconsistent with established law and are harmful to Missouri’s business climate.

  1. The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly emphasized that a court may exercise specific personal jurisdiction only when the plaintiff’s claims originated from the defendant’s conduct within that court’s state, and only five of the 22 plaintiffs were from Missouri.
  2. The erosion and unfair application of joinder law. As it stands, the case creates precedent that will have repercussions for future defendants facing multiple lawsuits with common elements but numerous individualized issues and defenses.
  3. An excessive punitive damages verdict that errs in applying the U.S. Supreme Court’s guidance on fairly measuring punitive awards.

Read the brief in full here.

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