September 30, 2016 — All eyes are on St. Louis as a third trial gets underway over the risk of ovarian cancer from Johnson’s Baby Powder.
The lawsuit was filed by Deborah Giannecchini, 62, a hospital secretary from California. She started using Johnson’s Baby Powder for feminine hygiene as a teenager in 1967. She used it for 45 years until being diagnosed with metastatic ovarian cancer in November 2012.
St. Louis’s circuit court is known for fast trials and big awards, according to Bloomberg. Hundreds of plaintiffs have flocked to the city to take advantage of a quirk in Missouri law that allows up to 99 out-of-state plaintiffs to tag along so long as one lawsuit is filed by a local resident.
In February, a St. Louis jury awarded $72 million to the family of a woman from Alabama who died of ovarian cancer. In May, another jury in St. Louis awarded $55 million to a cancer survivor from South Dakota who used baby powder for more than 40 years.
The popularity of St. Louis may actually undermine the fairness of the court system. Last month, attorneys for Johnson & Johnson requested a change of venue.
Lawyers said the jury pool in St. Louis had been unfairly tainted by an extraordinary amount of lawyer advertising and media coverage of big jury awards. Nationwide, nearly 25% of all ads for talcum powder lawsuits aired in the St. Louis area between March and May 2016.
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