Talc Defendant to Appeal Recent Missouri Verdict

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August 14, 2018
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A defendant in a talc jury trial intends on appealing a recent verdict reached in a Missouri case involving twenty-two plaintiffs who claimed that the defendant’s talcum powder contained asbestos and that they developed ovarian cancer from their use of the same. The defendant has already identified several bases for appeal. 

  • It is anticipated that the defendant will argue that jurisdiction was improper because the majority of the Plaintiffs—17 out of 22—were not Missouri residents. Pursuant to SCOTUS’ recent Bristol-Myers Squibb ruling, the out-of-state plaintiffs’ claims should have been barred because the plaintiffs lacked any jurisdictional ties to the state. Further, the defendant will counter plaintiffs’ claims that they used a short-lived version of the product, which was only manufactured within Missouri, by framing the claims as a ruse to defeat jurisdiction. In other words, it will argue that the foreign plaintiffs forum-shopped the case into Missouri’s plaintiff-friendly courts. 
  • Additionally, it will argue that plaintiffs’ scientific evidence was faulty under Daubert because plaintiffs’ experts presented the jury with faulty arguments as to both the alleged asbestos contamination of the subject talc and the ultimate causation of plaintiffs’ injuries. In support, the defendant points to decades of testing by laboratories and independent agencies, including a study by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which conclusively demonstrated that its products did not contain asbestos. In turn, any such products could not have been causative of plaintiffs’ injuries.

Given the high-profile nature of both the defendant and the jury verdict, this case will be an interesting one for observers to follow in the coming years.