Thursday, July 27, 2017

To gain it all and lose it all in one day

Note: The subject of this post is not the attorney with the same phonetically-sounding but different spelled name at Baker Donelson.

Ridgeland attorney Allen Smith has racked up an impressive series of wins in lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson in St. Louis over products liability claims involving talc powder. However, the U.S. Supreme Court might have just thrown a huge freeze over his success in one day with a June ruling. 

Mississippi Today published a glowing account of Mr. Smith's courtroom success by Patsy Brumfield over a year ago.  She reported in David v. Goliath:

There’s a Mississippi connection to the latest jury verdict against Johnson & Johnson over its talc products: Ridgeland attorney R. Allen Smith is the David going against the health care products giant.

On Monday, a St. Louis, Mo., jury ordered Johnson and Johnson to pay $55 million to a woman who claimed use of their talc products caused her ovarian cancer.

That follows a Feb. 24 verdict, also in St. Louis, that Johnson  & Johnson should pay $72 million to the family of an Alabama woman, Jacqueline Fox, who died from ovarian cancer just months before the trial.

Those cases are just two of more than 1,200 lawsuits pending against the company and led by Smith....

 Closer to home, he and others are assisting the Mississippi Attorney General’s office with a complaint against Johnson & Johnson and others accusing them of violating the state’s Consumer Protection Act. Rest of article.
Mr. Smith enjoyed more success this year as a St. Louis jury awarded his client a $110 million verdict.  The St. Louis Record reported on May 8:

Jurors hit Johnson & Johnson with a $110 million judgment last week as they drew a link between the company’s talc powder products and a Virginia woman’s ovarian cancer.

Jurors in the 22nd Circuit Court made their decision in favor of the plaintiff, 61-year-old Lois Slemp, who was too sick from cancer treatments to appear at the trial. They called on J&J, makers of Baby Powder and Shower to Shower, to pay Slemp compensatory damages of more than $5.4 million and punitive damages of $105 million.  Imerys Talc America Inc., J&J’s talc supplier, was fined $50,000 in punitive damages by the jury, which said Imerys was 1 percent at fault in the case.

In responding to the verdict, which was the highest such payout in a series of talc trials involving J&J, both defendants expressed sympathy for those affected by ovarian cancer, but they stood by their position that talc does not heighten the risk of ovarian cancer. Rest of article.

Unfortunately for Mr. Smith and his clients, Bristol-Myers has been fighting similar lawsuits elsewhere and struck gold at the U.S. Supreme Court in a San Francisco case.  Reuters reported on June 20:

Johnson & Johnson is seizing upon a U.S. Supreme Court ruling from Monday limiting where injury lawsuits can be filed to fight off claims it failed to warn women that talcum powder could cause ovarian cancer.

New Jersey-based J&J has been battling a series of lawsuits over its talc-based products, including Johnson's Baby Powder, brought by around 5,950 women and their families. The company denies any link between talc and cancer.
A fifth of the plaintiffs have cases pending in state court in St. Louis, where juries in four trials have hit J&J and a talc supplier with $307 million in verdicts. Those four cases and most of the others on the St. Louis docket involve out-of-state plaintiffs suing an out-of-state company. 

On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled 8-1 in a case involving Bristol-Myers Squibb Co that state courts cannot hear claims against companies that are not based in the state when the alleged injuries did not occur there. 

The ruling immediately led a St. Louis judge at J&J's urging to declare a mistrial in the latest talc case, in which two of the three women at issue were from out of state. It also could imperil prior verdicts and cases that have yet to go to trial. Rest of article.
 The Supreme Court stated in a summary of the opinion:

A group of plaintiffs, most of whom are not California residents, sued Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMS) in California state court, alleging that the pharmaceutical company’s drug Plavix had damaged their health. BMS is incorporated in Delaware and headquartered in New York, and it maintains substantial operations in both New York and New Jersey. Although it engages in business activities in California and sells Plavix there, BMS did not develop, create a marketing strategy for, manufacture, label, package, or work on the regulatory approval for Plavix in the State. And the nonresident plaintiffs did not allege that they obtained Plavix from a California source, that by Plavix in California, or that they were treated or their injuries in California. (Opinion posted below.) 

Johnson & Johnson wasted no time in using the new ruling to its advantage in the St. Louis cases.   The Courtroom View Network reported on June 21: 

A Missouri judge declared a mistrial on Monday in a lawsuit over the supposed link between Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based hygiene products and ovarian cancer, after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled plaintiffs cannot file state court lawsuits in states where their alleged injuries did not occur.

Judge Rex Burlison made the decision a week into the trial, which for the first time in a talc case involved claims from the families of three deceased women being heard concurrently.J&J and co-defendant Imerys Talc America made a motion for the mistrial shortly after the Supreme Court published an 8-1 decision in the case of “Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.v. Superior Court of California.”

The mistrial is a major victory for Johnson & Johnson, as most of the 1,700 pending lawsuits accusing the company of withholding knowledge from the public about talc’s supposed cancer risk are centralized in Missouri. The state’s lenient joinder rules make it relatively easy for nonresident plaintiffs to file lawsuits in mass tort cases, and high-profile verdicts in previous talc trials spawned numerous similar claims. Rest of article.
Why so many lawsuits from out of state plaintiffs?

Missouri’s joinder rule allows nonresident plaintiffs to become part of an existing lawsuit if their claims arise from a similar set of circumstances. One of the deceased women in the current trial lived in Missouri, but the other two allegedly developed ovarian cancer while living in Texas and Virginia. All three blamed their illness on using products like Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower for decades.

The Supreme Court decision could also wipe out more than $300 million awarded so far in four of the previous five talc trials in St. Louis, since a Missouri appeals court indicated it would wait for the Supreme Court’s ruling in the BMS case before determining whether a $72 million talc award from 2016 should be upheld.
The plaintiff in Mr. Smith's $110 million verdict, Lois Slemp, is a resident of Virginia.  It is a certain bet that Johnson & Johnson will appeal. One can probably safely assume that Mr. Smith will not want to watch Meet Me in St. Louis nor listen to My Heart's in San Francisco.  

Allen Smith, Esq.. Credit: Mississippi Today


Anonymous said...

just thrown a huge freeze over his success

I see what you did there.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Mr. Smith may need to take a powder.

Anonymous said...

Can Johnson & Johnson get their money back from case they already settled?

Anonymous said...

>>>Can Johnson & Johnson get their money back from case they already settled?<<<

But of course!

J&J just need to file a new appeal with Judge Judy and stop payment asap!

Anonymous said...

Since the Supremes have now derailed Mr. Smith's gravy train, he should have more time to focus on ...... other litigation that he "may" be involved in. Right, KF?

Anonymous said...

Alexa Traffic Ranking
Rank in the United States as of July 27, 2017

Ranking calculated using a combination of average daily visitors to the site and pageviews on the site from users in the United States over the past month. Updated daily.

Clarion-Ledger = 17,857
MSNewsNow = 29,578
WAPT = 67,556
Jackson Jambalaya = 69,592
WJTV = 71,278
Mississippi Today = 77,614
Jackson Free Press = 99,407
Mississippi Business Journal = 115,221
Primeaux's Better Chancery = 191,881
MSGOP (RINO) Radio, aka, SuperTalkMS = 242,942
MPBOnline = 345,808
Mississippi Litigation Review = 360,555
Mississippi Gun Owners = 360,683
Mississippi Mom = 449,550
Deep South Daily = 601,563
Y'allPolitics = 661,617
Randy Wallace = 745,617

Bigger Pie Forum
Boom Jackson
Dark Horse Mississippi
Desoto County Reform
Hattiesburg Patriot
Jackson Advocate
Jackson Progressive
Jane's Law Blog
JXNPulse (aka Comrade Ladd's Youth Indoctrination Day Camp)
Madison County Journal
Magnolia Report
Mississippi Conservative Daily
Mississippi Gun News
Mississippi Link
Mississippi PEP
Mississippi Political Pulse
Northside Sun
Pearl River Flow
Rethink Mississippi
The Rez News
The Taxpayers Channel
The Treadknot Chronicles
The Voice of Jackson
Weidie Report

DEAD Jackson Free Press Expansion Projects
Starkville Free Press
State Desk


Thus Blogged Anderson (Andy Lowry)

Anonymous said...

Mr. Smith will get more publicity on Friday when his name is released in another document !

Anonymous said...

News flash

J&J hasn't settled a single one of these cases.

No way they could and survive

Cornoyer said...

Glad to hear it. Cases were out in left field. He can go back to drafting wills and closing on real estate transactions.

Kingfish said...

For a fleeting moment, he was a member of the Kings of Tort in Mississippi.

Anonymous said...

@12:06...what you talkin bout willis?

Anonymous said...

Well of course the Supreme Court was correct on this.
When folks are made to use the proper courts, jurors have to live with their decisions.
If jurors in Jackson let criminals back onto the street, they get to worry if said criminals may one day rob them or people the care about.
Back before Mississippi tort reform there was a certain county that gained a reputation for outrageous jury verdicts. Over time more and more companies stopped doing business there. Plants closed. Stores closed. Some companies refused to allow any deliveries in the county. So those jurors were driving jobs away and making everything that was sold in the county cost more.
This is as it should be.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a lawyer so would those who are explain the sentence with the double negative?
Does this ruling mean the end of class action suits?
Or, does it mean that personal injury suits can only be heard where the plaintiff resides?
Or does it mean the personal injury has to occur where the plantiff resides AND the incorporation took place or will the existence of a manufacturing plant do?
Or, does it mean that only those who reside in the State of incorporation can sue over a product sold in every State?

I could care less whether or not a MS lawyer has had a comeuppance. I do care whether or not manufacturers can continue to sell products they know or later learn can be hazardous to health without notifying the consumer ( that'd be me) of the hazard.

Mutt the Hoople said...

If they made lawsuits "Loser Pays", you wouldn't have so many Ole Miss ambulance chasers running around destroying Industry and free enterprise in America.

Anonymous said...

Took JJ way too long to come to the point. Had to read through tons of minutia to finally get the the Supreme ruling. Reminds me of those new tickler stories on facebook where you have to click through 'NEXT' fifteen times and look at commercials, to get to the end of a simple story.

Anonymous said...

11:02 - Ah, that's too bad your valuable time has been wasted. Suggest you do your own research. Then you can view the information in any order you choose.

Kingfish said...

Get over it and go take your Ritalin.

2016 Hottest Reporter Poll

Suscribe to latest on JJ.

Recent Comments

Search Jackson Jambalaya

Subscribe to JJ's Youtube channel

Who is the hottest reporter?


Who is the Hottest Reporter in Jackson?

Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS