ST. LOUIS – Attorneys representing Johnson & Johnson in a talcum powder-ovarian cancer lawsuit have filed a motion for a change of venue saying the jury pool has been unfairly influenced by an extraordinary amount of lawyer advertising in the St. Louis market.
In a motion filed with the Circuit Court of the City of
St. Louis, the company's attorneys say the pool of potential jurors
for the case of Tiffany Hogans v. Johnson & Johnson has been tainted by
advertisements announcing recent verdicts in the court and encouraging potential litigants to
contact plaintiff's attorneys. Specifically, the motion states that approximately 319 advertisements, or 23 percent of the advertisements in the nation for talcum powder litigation, ran in the St. Louis area between March and
May of this year.
Another reason for venue change is
that Johnson & Johnson believes that media coverage of the verdicts could harm their case, according to the motion for a change of
They request that the trial be moved out of the St. Louis
area and at least 100 miles away.
"Given the size of the media market, there was a
disproportionate number of advertisements for talcum powder litigation," attorney Rustin
Silverstein told the Record. "Since the verdicts last spring, St. Louis gets more than its
Silverstein is the president of X-Ante, a company that specializes
in analyzing mass tort litigation advertising. He
was hired by attorneys for Johnson & Johnson to report on the prevalence of
advertisements related to talcum powder and ovarian cancer in the St. Louis
states that in the last year, “more ads were broadcast and more was
spent on these ads on local broadcast networks in St. Louis than in any other media
market." Between July 1, 2015, and June 30 of this year, plaintiffs’ law firms aired “nearly 19,000” talcum powder litigation
commercials on national and local television networks at an estimated cost of
$9.7 million, he says.
"Having watched as many of these ads as I have, it is
very hard for someone viewing these not to come away with concerns. Their ad
copy and sales pitch talk about a link," Silverstein said.
Advertising by plaintiff's attorneys for mass tort lawsuits
has become big business, he said.
"It's been increasing in lockstep with
the value of jury awards," Silverstein said. "It's become a
competitive industry. There's a whole industry for lead generation for mass
tort lawsuits. There are claims processing centers and nonprofit entities that
generate these leads and sell them to plaintiff's attorneys."