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Missouri Supreme Court ruling could help J&J in talc cases

Published on 25/02/19 at 10:41am

The Missouri Supreme Court has ruled that the practice of combining two or more cases in order to allow courts to hear cases they otherwise would not, constitutes “a clear and direct violation” of state law.

The ruling may offer respite to healthcare conglomerate Johnson & Johnson as it deals with a flurry of lawsuits over allegations that its talc products including J&J’s baby powder, containing cancer causing asbestos.

“The central issue in this case is whether permissive joinder of separate claims may extend venue to a county when, absent joinder, venue in that county would not otherwise be proper for each claim,” wrote Judge W. Brent Powell, joined by three other panelists. “It cannot and does not. This is evidenced not only by our Court’s rules but also nearly 40 years of this Court’s precedent.”

Most state courts only hear cases involving plaintiffs or defendents from the state in which the case is being heard or in cases in which injuries occurred within the state’s jurisdiction. However the St Louis court had allowed out-of-state residents to sue New Jersey-based J&J through the use of a joinder.

Kimberly Montagnino a spokesperson for J&J commented: “We believe that decision is clearly correct, and we continue to believe that the science doesn’t support plaintiffs’ claims.”

Louis Goss

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