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‘Gateway to the West’ Becomes the ‘Gateway to the Courts’ for Dubious Science and High Damage Awards

St. Louis juries have twice levied hefty multi-million dollar damage awards against Johnson & Johnson since February on behalf of out of state ovarian cancer victims.

A St. Louis jury by a 9-3 vote found Johnson & Johnson liable to a woman from South Dakota for $55 million. This result comes two months after another St. Louis jury awarded $72 million to an Alabama woman’s survivors. The Onder Law Firm represented the plaintiffs’ in both St. Louis cases and has over 1,000 cases pending in the River City alone.

Questions remain as to whether the scientific evidence supported such large verdicts. Johnson & Johnson is appealing both verdicts.

The medical field has yet to definitively determine the cancer-causing likelihood of talc, calling it “possibly carcinogenic” or failing to fully review it at all. The plaintiffs’ medical expert testified only that it might cause inflammation which may increase the risk of ovarian cancer.

These cases just underscore the importance of expert witness reform in Missouri. Currently, a bill implementing the federal Daubert standard – adopted in a majority of jurisdictions – is awaiting Gov. Nixon’s signature.

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