SCOTUS Denies Cert in Missouri Talc Case

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By denying cert, the Supreme Court is failing to deliver on its promise of equal justice under the law

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will not review a landmark talcum powder case which resulted in a multi-billion-dollar verdict out of Missouri.

“We are disappointed that the U.S. Supreme Court denied cert in Ingham v. Johnson & Johnson,” American Tort Reform Association President Tiger Joyce said. “Missouri’s courts improperly allowed the joinder of 22 plaintiffs, each with different medical backgrounds and outcomes, into one case. The Supreme Court should have reviewed this case to provide clearer guidance to lower courts regarding joining such dissimilar claims.”

ATRA filed an amicus brief in April, calling on the Supreme Court to ensure that the rights of all civil defendants to due process under the Constitution are protected against improper “joinder” or joining together of multiple parties in one lawsuit. 

“By denying cert, the Supreme Court is failing to deliver on its promise of equal justice under the law,” Joyce said. “The fact that the Court declined to accept the case is not the end of this matter. The onus is now on state legislatures around the country to enact essential civil justice reforms to ensure the protection of defendants’ due process rights.”

The case against Johnson & Johnson was originally decided in the City of St. Louis and the original $4.69 billion verdict is the largest talc-related verdict in history. An appellate court reduced the award to $2.1 billion but the Missouri Supreme Court refused to review the case. 

The City of St. Louis is ranked No. 7 on the American Tort Reform Foundation’s Judicial Hellholes® list.

“St. Louis judges’ loose application of venue rules encourages out-of-state plaintiffs to flock there,” Joyce said. “Missouri’s legislature must prioritize civil justice reform to prevent these continuing abuses in their court systems. Several important reform bills died in this year’s legislative session – it is essential that these bills are reconsidered in 2022.”

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