Manufacturer of Cosmetic Talcum Powder Dismissed in New Jersey Mesothelioma Case
NEW BRUNSWICK, May 11, 2018 – Hawkins Parnell Thackston & Young LLP won a significant victory in Middlesex County, New Jersey, obtaining a full dismissal of a cosmetic talc personal injury lawsuit brought on behalf of a Florida resident. Plaintiff Dwayne Johnson claimed that he contracted mesothelioma, in part, from exposure to cosmetic talcum powder sold by HPTY’s client. Plaintiff has lived his entire life in Florida and contended that his exposure to cosmetic talc occurred in Florida. He had no connection whatsoever to New Jersey where his attorneys decided to file the Complaint. HPTY’s client is a California entity and never operated any facilities in New Jersey. In issuing her opinion, the Hon. Ana Viscomi agreed with our arguments that jurisdiction was improper in New Jersey. She relied heavily on a 2017 ruling from the United States Supreme Court in Bristol Myers Squibb v. Superior Court, which held that jurisdiction is not appropriate where the defendant is not “at home” (either state of incorporation or principal place of business) and the plaintiff has no connection to the jurisdiction where the case was filed. Plaintiff argued that our client’s talc suppliers were New Jersey companies, but Judge Viscomi was not persuaded. She noted that the Supreme Court considered similar facts in Bristol Myers Squibb and found jurisdiction to be improper.
This is the first time Judge Viscomi has granted a defendant’s motion to dismiss on jurisdiction and will likely result in more dismissals for certain defendants in New Jersey. Roy Viola argued the motion, which was drafted by several HPTY attorneys including Robert Thackston, Julia Gowin, Manuel Guevara, and Nilofar Karbassi.