Three Talcum Lawsuits Reinstated To Missouri State Court
Three lawsuits that had been removed to a federal court at defendant Johnson & Johnson's request were sent back to state courts by the federal judges overseeing the Missouri U.S. District Court to which the cases had been removed.
Monday, October 19, 2015 - Three separate lawsuits filed against Johnson and Johnson in Missouri state court that were previously removed to federal court have been reinstated by federal judges overseeing the proceedings. The three lawsuits, which were comprised of over 200 plaintiffs, had been removed to federal court initially by the defendants Johnson & Johnson after they claimed the lawsuits were mass actions that would be better fit to be heard before a federal court as opposed to a state one.
The removal of cases usually takes place when a defendant wishes for a case that could have been filed in federal court to be moved there from the state court in which is it currently filed. It is often difficult for cases to be removed unless each defendant agrees to remove certain cases to the federal level. In the case of the three lawsuits that were reinstated by federal judges, the difficulty became clear as Johnson & Johnson's notice of removal request was overturned by the federal judges who presided over the suits in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.
The court reinstated the lawsuits after they found that the plaintiffs had never requested for the three lawsuits to be tried together. This would have constituted a mass action, which is the grounds upon which Johnson & Johnson made their notice of removal argument. The three lawsuits were returned to the state court they were originally filed in and will be heard in that original venue located in St. Louis.
A similar removal took place earlier in the year when two cases were removed from state to federal court in Illinois. This removal, which took place on May 20, was based on the fact that Johnson & Johnson claimed the diversity of citizenship had been fulfilled in the state case pending against the company and because the cases were filed in Illinois where the company does not run its primary business, they were eligible to be removed to federal court.
Johnson & Johnson also claimed the plaintiffs in those cases had listed Walgreens as a defendant in their lawsuits solely to base the claims in Illinois. Walgreens has been included in a number of talcum powder lawsuits, listed a being culpable for the actions of Johnson & Johnson because they helped distribute the talcum manufacturers products without proper warnings. The judge in this case found that another case had been removed after the Walgreens argument had been dismissed and agreed with Johnson & Johnson's request to remove these cases to federal court.
The talcum powder cancer lawsuits are comprised of more than 700 lawsuits taking place nationwide that claim Johnson & Johnson failed to warn consumers of possible links that existed between their Baby Powder and Shower to Shower talcum powder products and the development of ovarian cancer. Attorneys for the plaintiffs have produced a number of studies conducted at universities and published in medical journals demonstrating a link between talcum powder and an increased risk in ovarian cancer for regular users of the product. The three lawsuits that were reinstated to the St. Louis state court are a part of dozens of lawsuits there that are headed toward the trial phase of the proceedings in the coming months.