State ex rel. Johnson & Johnson v. Honorable Rex M. BurlisonAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Court made permanent preliminary writs of prohibition preventing the circuit court from taking any further action other than to sever Michael Blaes’ claims from the separate claims made by multiple plaintiffs in the underlying case pending in St. Louis City and to transfer Blaes’ claims to St. Louis County, holding that venue was proper in St. Louis County.
In the Swann action, Plaintiffs filed suit against Relators in St. Louis City alleging that they or their decedents developed ovarian cancer from using products manufactured by Johnson & Johnson with talc provided by Imerys Talc America, Inc. Blaes, whose wife died of ovarian cancer, was named as a plaintiff in the first amended petition. The circuit court subsequently designated Blaes’ claims for a separate trial. Relators renewed previously filed motions to sever and transfer for improper venue, which the circuit court overruled. Relators then sought writs of prohibition arguing venue in St. Louis City was improper and seeking to compel the circuit court to transfer Blaes’ separate claims to the proper venue in St. Louis County. The Court issued writs of prohibition, holding that the circuit court abused its discretion in overruling Relators’ motions to sever Blaes’ claims and transfer the to St. Louis County, where Blaes’ wife was first injured.