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Missouri appeals court vacates award in talcum powder suit

[JURIST] The Missouri Court of Appeals Eastern District [official website] on Tuesday vacated [opinion, PDF] a $72 million award to a woman who claimed that Johnson & Johnson (J&J) [corporate website] baby powder products containing talcum contributed to her ovarian cancer, finding that the court that awarded the amount had no jurisdiction.

The court cited a Supreme Court case [JURIST report] that "non-resident[s] must establish an independent basis for specific personal jurisdiction over the defendant in the state." J&J is headquartered in New Jersey. Plaintiff requested the case be remanded so more facts could be added to the record to support a finding of jurisdiction, but the court found no authority to do so at this stage. Jacqueline Fox, the consumer in the case, died in 2015.

J&J faces [BLOOMBERG report] over 5,500 claims talc claims throughout the US. In August a jury returned a verdict [JURIST report] in favor of a consumer who allegedly developed ovarian cancer after using J&J talc-based product, awarding $417 million in damages. J&J however, has stated that studies and federal agencies have not found their talc-based products to be carcinogenic.

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