On June 19, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California (BMS), an action brought in California state court that included some non-California plaintiffs alleging injuries not suffered in California. The Supreme Court – for the second time this term – narrowed where plaintiffs can constitutionally sue companies.
The decision already is impacting mass tort actions. On the same day as the BMS decision, a Missouri state court declared a mistrial in an action alleging that Johnson & Johnson’s talc products cause ovarian cancer.
BMS provides product liability defendants with an opportunity to argue that state courts do not have personal jurisdiction over them when the claims have no connection with the defendants’ activities in the forum state.