ST. LOUIS – A recent Missouri Supreme Court decision on talc-related lawsuits could help reduced the liability that Johnson & Johnson faces over claims that the company's talc products may lead to cancer.
The Feb. 13 ruling stated that an out-of-town plaintiff's inclusion on a talc case was a violation of state laws that barred the use of joinder, or the joining together of lawsuits.
Local industry leaders were pleased with the ruling.
Associated Industries of Missouri President Ray McCarty told the St. Louis Record that the entity was "pleased with this ruling and believes the Missouri Supreme Court got it right."
McCarty also emphasized the efforts put by the entity on transforming the decision into law.
"We worked to negotiate legislation to codify the decision into our law in Senate Bill 7, filed by Sen. Ed Emery, that was given initial approval early this morning [Feb. 27] following 16 hours of debate," McCarty said.
As reported by Reuters, "the ruling will likely offer some respite to the health care conglomerate as it deals with growing pressure over the safety of its talc products, some defense lawyers said. The company revealed in its annual report on Wednesday that it had received subpoenas from the U.S. Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission related to talc litigation."
A July trial, held in St. Louis’s 22nd Circuit Court, was brought by 21 plaintiffs from outside the city that had their cases combined to one of a St. Louis resident, which obtained a $4.69 billion verdict against the company.
There are several other lawsuits in St. Louis that have J&J as a defendant on similar claims.
In a statement quoted by Reuters, J&J was "pleased with the decision," adding that "one claim that is properly before a court cannot provide a basis for drawing into a trial other claims that are not. We believe that decision is clearly correct, and we continue to believe that the science doesn’t support plaintiffs’ claims."