United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
RICHARD WEBBER, SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on Defendants Johnson &
Johnson and Johnson & Johnson Consumer Incorporated's
Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs' Claims for Lack of Personal
Jurisdiction and Improper Venue [ECF No. 4], Defendants
Johnson & Johnson and Johnson & Johnson Consumer
Incorporated's Motion to Stay [ECF No. 7],
Plaintiffs' Emergency Motion to Remand [ECF No. 14], and
Defendant Imerys Talk America, Incorporated's Motion and
Suggestions in Support to Dismiss Plaintiffs' First
Amended Petition for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction [ECF No.
1, 2017, Plaintiffs initiated this lawsuit in the Circuit
Court of St. Louis City. Plaintiffs filed an amended petition
on June 19, 2017, alleging Defendants Johnson & Johnson,
Incorporated, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies,
Incorporated, and Imerys Talc America,
Incorporated's negligent, willful and wrongful conduct in
connection with the design, development, manufacture,
testing, packaging, promoting, marketing, distribution,
labeling, and sale of products known as Johnson & Johnson
Baby Powder and Shower to Shower caused Plaintiffs to develop
ovarian cancer. Plaintiffs assert 16 counts against
Defendants: (1) Violation of Missouri Merchandizing Practices
Act against Johnson & Johnson; (2) Strict Liability for
Failure to Warn against Imerys; (3) Strict Liability for
Failure to Warn against Johnson & Johnson; (4) Strict
Liability for Defective Manufacture and Design against
Imerys; (5) Strict Liability for Defective Manufacture and
Design against Johnson & Johnson; (6) Negligence against
Imerys; (7) Negligence against Johnson & Johnson; (8)
Breach of Express Warranty against Johnson & Johnson; (9)
Breach of Implied Warranties against Johnson & Johnson;
(10) Civil Conspiracy against Defendants; (11) Concert of
Action against Defendants; (12) Fraud against Johnson &
Johnson; (13) Negligent Representation against Defendants;
(14) Wrongful Death against Defendants; (15) Punitive Damages
against Defendants; and (16) Damages against Defendants.
29, 2017, Defendants removed the matter to this Court on the
basis of diversity jurisdiction. Subsequent to removal,
Defendants filed two Motions to Dismiss and a Motion to Stay.
Plaintiffs filed a Motion to Remand.
purposes of this Motion to Dismiss, the Court accepts as true
the following facts alleged in Plaintiffs' Amended
Petition. Great Rivers Habitat Alliance v. Fed. Emergency
Mgmt. Agency, 615 F.3d 958, 988 (8th Cir. 2010). Two of
the 83 plaintiffs in this case, Tina Gill and Peggy Waddle,
citizens of Missouri, applied talcum powder in Missouri, and
developed ovarian cancer in Missouri. Plaintiff Gretchen
Zurligen,  a citizen of Oregon, applied talcum powder
in Missouri and developed ovarian cancer in Missouri.
Plaintiff Rebecca Jinright, a citizen of Texas, applied
talcum powder in Missouri. The remaining 79 plaintiffs have
no connection to the state of Missouri. Plaintiff Cathleen
Acker, among others, is a citizen of California. Plaintiff
Constance Aparicio, among others, is a citizen of New Jersey.
Johnson & Johnson is a New Jersey corporation with its
principal place of business in New Jersey. Imerys is a
Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in
OF THE MOTIONS
their various motions, responses, and replies, the parties
argue the merits of the issues, but also assert arguments
regarding which motion should be decided first. Plaintiffs
argue their Motion to Remand and a determination of subject
matter jurisdiction should be addressed by the Court before
Defendants' Motions to Dismiss and issues of personal
jurisdiction. Defendants argue the opposite.
a federal court first resolves doubts about its jurisdiction
over the subject matter” of a case before addressing
personal jurisdiction issues. Ruhrgas AG v. Marathon Oil
Co., 526 U.S. 574, 578 (1999). However, there are
circumstances in which a court may first address personal
jurisdiction, such as when personal jurisdiction is
straightforward while subject matter jurisdiction is
“difficult, novel, or complex.” Id. at
588. Recent decisions by the United States and Missouri
Supreme Courts make the personal jurisdiction issue in this
case much easier to decide. See Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.
v. Super. Ct. of Cal., S. F. Cty., 137 S.Ct. 1773
(2017); State ex rel. Norfolk S. Ry. Co. v. Dolan,
512 S.W.3d 41 (Mo. 2017); Siegfried v. Boehringer
Ingelheim Pharm., Inc., No. 4:16CV1942 CDP, 2017 WL
2778107 at *2 (E.D. Mo. Jun. 27, 2017).
personal jurisdiction question is straightforward. Remanding
this case for lack of complete diversity only to have the
case removed again later once the non-Missouri plaintiffs are
dismissed, would be a waste of judicial resources. Ruling
personal jurisdiction first is in the interests of judicial
economy and expeditiousness. Therefore, this Court will first
address the motions to dismiss before the motion to remand.
assert, in their Motions to Dismiss, all of the claims for
Plaintiffs not from Missouri, the non-resident Plaintiffs,
must be dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction.
Defendants argue there are no allegations connecting the
remaining Plaintiffs' claims to Missouri. Further,
Defendants contend they also have no connections to Missouri.
Plaintiffs assert the matter should be remanded to state
court for additional discovery on the issue of specific
personal jurisdiction. Plaintiffs contend evidence exists
manufacturing, packaging, and mislabeling of Johnson &
Johnson talc products used by Plaintiffs took place in
federal court may exercise jurisdiction over a foreign
defendant only to the extent permitted by the forum
state's long-arm statute and by the Due Process Clause of
the Constitution.” Miller v. Nippon Carbon
Co., 528 F.3d 1087, 1090 (8th Cir. 2008) (internal
quotations and citation omitted). Because the Missouri
long-arm statute is construed as extending personal
jurisdiction to the fullest extent permitted by the
Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause, see J.C.W.
ex rel. Webb v. Wyciskalla, 275 S.W.3d 249, 253 (Mo.
2009) (en banc), the Court's ...