Thursday, February 28, 2019
Earlier this month, I reported that tort reform bills had been filed again in Missouri to alter liberal joinder rules in that state. In the meantime, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that allowing a non-resident to participate in joined cases was a violation of state law prohibiting the use of joinder to allow courts to hear cases they otherwise would not be able to. The ruling may eliminate or reduce the pressure to pass legislation. One company that may be particularly affected is J&J, a New Jersey-based company defending cases that talc included in its baby powder causes cancer. In a December report, Reuters stated that J&J knew that talc in its baby powder tested positive for asbestos from the 1970s to the early 2000s. J&J is facing about 13,000 cases over the issue, most of which have been consolidated in federal court in New Jersey. The Missouri Supreme Court's ruling is potentially good news for J&J:
The St. Louis court has been a venue for more talc trials and has seen larger verdicts than any other jurisdiction. Outside of St. Louis, the only other significant talc verdicts against J&J to date have come in lawsuits filed by individual plaintiffs in New Jersey and California, where the company is currently facing jury verdicts totalling $142 million.
Tina Bellon at the Insurance Journal has the story.