Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Investigators have not been able to determine a cause in a May 21 fire at Center Plaza that involved nine businesses in Washington State

FEDERAL WAY, Wash. -- Investigators have not been able to determine a cause in a May 21 fire at Center Plaza that involved nine businesses.

South King Fire & Rescue says several different agencies as well as investigators and engineers from insurance companies were involved. In addition to examining where the fire began, witnesses, business owners and employees gave statements.

The investigation concluded the fire started the 2NE Pho restaurant. It started in the kitchen or the attic above of the kitchen. There was extensive fire damage in this area. But investigators say cooking appliances didn't cause the fire.

South King Fire & Rescue said there was no indication of a crime. Nor did investigators find any indication of careless behavior on the part of business owners or employees.


FEDERAL WAY, Wash. - Fire investigators are digging through the remains of a Federal Way strip mall, looking for a cause of a massive fire that destroyed the complex over weekend.

The fire broke out around 4:30 a.m. Sunday, and quickly engulfed the Center Plaza located along S 320th, directly across from The Federal Way Commons.

Fire crews said the complex went up in flames fast because there was no sprinkler system. It wasn't required by law.

South King Fire and Rescue officials said the fire spread from business to business through the attic. Eventually the roof collapsed. A fire fighter sustained a minor injury, but no one was seriously hurt.

The fire department said nine businesses were involved, including a Subway sandwich shop and several mom and pop enterprises which include a restaurant, small grocery, bakery and a music and games store.

"It's just so sad," said Federal Way resident Kim Cogger looking at the ruins. "I've been here all my life and this is just shocking."

Fire investigators have been looking in the northeast section of the building, but at this time don't have a cause or a place where the fire may have started.

They said the fire spread unchecked, without a sprinkler system to stop it. These buildings were constructed in 1979 before the law was passed that required them.

The same thing happened a week ago in Bellevue. Nine units were damaged when the fire broke out at Bellevue's Columbia Business Park.

That complex included a day care center, retail spaces and an auto business. There, too, no sprinklers. But, they were required.

"Thank God I'm okay," said June Paik. She owns a wig shop in the identical building next door to the Federal Way strip mall and worries about not having sprinklers. "I never thought that we needed them."

Paik now wonders if it's possible to put in a system, realizing it may be too expensive.

"We don't know the cost to bring the sprinkler system in to protect our business, unless the landlord shares the cost," Paik said.

But, fire officials said even just one sprinkler could have made a difference.

"One sprinkler head with a little bit of water would have controlled this fire," said South King Fire and Rescue fire marshal Gordy Goodsell.

"At some point you have to retrofit the building just for everybody's safety," said Mall customer Dimitry Litzinov said,

Even though most commercial buildings aren't required to retroactively install sprinklers, nightclubs and restaurants with more than a hundred customers do have to put in sprinklers, no matter when they were built.

The massive Gold King Mine spill: 540 tons of heavy metals now rest at the bottom of Lake Powell

SALT LAKE CITY — No one is quite sure how the long-term effects of the massive Gold King Mine spill will continue to play out in Utah's San Juan River or Lake Powell, but monitoring will persist for years and years.

Erica Gaddis, the newly appointed director of the Utah Division of Water Quality, briefed a committee of lawmakers on the situation during a Tuesday hearing, detailing that 540 tons of heavy metals now rest at the bottom of Lake Powell.

Testing by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency revealed that the heavy metal concentrations had all been flushed to Lake Powell by last July, carried along by the currents in the San Juan River.

Gaddis, who assumes her new role next Monday, said metals such as copper, zinc and aluminum tested above federal standards in 2015 in aquatic life in more than 150 samples. By 2016, only aluminum remained — with counts that exceeded the standard in 126 samples.

The breach of the Gold King Mine near Silverton, Colorado, happened Aug. 5, 2015, after an EPA official and a contractor on site for remediation attempted to drain ponded water. An estimated 3 million gallons of water and 540 tons of heavy metals left over from the mining operation flowed into the Animus River, moved into the San Juan River and wound up in Lake Powell.

The mine breach area has since been declared a Superfund site, which expedites federal response for monitoring and remediation.

Gaddis told members of the Legislature's Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee that Utah, the three other states impacted and Native American tribes are working together to monitor long-term impacts.

That task is complicated given the extent of legacy mining operations in the Bonita Peak Mining District in Colorado, where there are 48 historic mines near Silverton.

Gaddis pointed out that over the last decade, it's estimated there has been 877 million gallons of water released, with 8.6 million tons of tailings generated from the life of those mines

The Utah Department of Environmental Quality has been reimbursed by the EPA for nearly $464,000 in costs in the initial response and another $212,000 in costs have received preliminary approval by the federal government.

Gaddis said about $20 million has been appropriated by a congressional act to help Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Native American tribes with long-term monitoring.

Utah is also keeping its options open for any potential litigation against the EPA regarding the spill, she added.

Tree-trimming worker with Mortensen Tree Service electrocuted to death in Littleton, Colorado

LITTLETON, CO - Some Littleton residents are without power after a worker trimming trees was electrocuted.

The man did not survive.

According to Littleton Fire, the man was with a crew working in a large tree on a sloped lawn. There were power lines nearby. He was about 30 feet up when the accident happened.

They said they do not know how he came in contact with the power lines as he was wearing appropriate safety gear and appeared to be tied to the tree correctly.

Littleton Fire and Xcel energy worked on Monday morning to get the worker out of the tree. Neighboring arbor companies were also called to help provide expertise on getting to the victim. They also provided a bucket truck to help out.

The incident occurred around 10:00 a.m. on 6897 South Prince Circle.

Power will be out in the area for an unknown period of time.

Littleton Fire reminded people who are working in their yards or trimming trees to use caution, especially around power lines.


Mark Mortensen, ISA Certified Arborist RM-1002A

LITTLETON, Colo. — Firefighters and Xcel workers are working together to help recover the body of an arborist who died after being electrocuted in a Littleton tree.

Littleton Fire Rescue officials said they responded to reports of an electrocution at 6897 South Prince Circle just after 10 a.m. Monday morning. They announced at 11 a.m. an arborist who was working in a tree died from contact with an electrical current.

Rescuers said they put out a call for help to find a bucket truck, and soon after, other arborists came to help.

"It looked like he had all the safety gear on, he had a helmet and was tied to the tree appropriately," Jackie Erwin, the Littleton Fire Rescue emergency manager, said.

Officials say they're unsure exactly how he came into contact with the fatal current, but they will conduct an investigation.

Xcel officials say power will be shut off in the surrounding neighborhood during the body recovery and the investigation.

It's not yet known what company the arborist worked for, nor have officials released the victim's identity.

Littleton Fire Rescue officials said they aren't sure if the arborist's crew called Xcel to have power lines shut off.

"While trimming trees, anything that's close to a power line, even digging, if you're digging up your sprinkler system or anything like that, let Xcel know so they can mark where those lines may be or shut off the power if need be so you can do it safely," Erwin said.


Arborist electrocuted while cutting tree

Man died 30 feet up in ash tree
Posted Monday, June 19, 2017 2:38 pm

David Gilbert

An arborist was electrocuted and killed while trimming a tree in the backyard of a home in southwest Littleton on June 19.

The man was 30 feet up in an ash tree at the bottom of a sloping backyard at 6897 S. Prince Circle at around 10 a.m. when he was electrocuted, according to Littleton Fire Rescue spokesperson Jackie Erwin, adding that a power line ran perpendicular to the tree.

LFR contacted Xcel Energy to cut the power to the area, and called in another tree service company with a bucket truck to retrieve the man's body. The man, whose name has not been released, was deceased when he was pulled from the tree. LFR cleared the scene by about 11:20 a.m. Power was still out to the block at 1:30 p.m.


Mark Mortensen, ISA Certified Arborist RM-1002A 

Mortensen Tree Service

990 E Cottonwood Ave

Littleton, CO


An arborist is a specialist in the care of individual trees. Arborists are knowledgeable about the needs of trees, and are trained and equipped to provide proper care. Mark Mortensen is among the best and has worked in the field since 1996.
Pruning or removing trees, especially large trees, can be dangerous work. Tree work should only be done by those trained and equipped to work safely in trees.
Well cared for trees are attractive and can add considerable value to your property. Poorly maintained trees can be a significant liability.
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A PECO utility worker, 62-years old, inside a bucket truck was electrocuted to death early Wednesday while dealing with a power outage in Radnor Township, PA

Radnor Township, PA
A PECO worker was electrocuted to death early Wednesday while dealing with a power outage in Radnor Township, officials stated.

“We can confirm an employee fatality occurred,” Ben Armstrong, a Peco spokesman, said.

The incident occurred on the 700 block of Berwood Road in the township’s Bryn Mawr section in the early morning hours and involved a first-class line mechanic who had worked for the utility for 31 years, officials said.

The worker, who was in a bucket trying to isolate the affected power line, was found unresponsive about 5:20 a.m. by police who were patrolling in the area. Fire, ambulance, and Peco crews responded within 15 minutes and were able to lower the bucket to get to the lineman, said Lt. Andy Block of Radnor Police.

“The worker came in contact with the power line,” said Block. “It appears to be a tragic accident.”

Block said a downed tree in the area was the likely cause of the outage that affected about three blocks in the area.

The cause is still under investigation by local authorities and the state Public Utility Commission, Armstrong said.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family,” said Armstrong, adding Peco representatives were with the worker’s family.

The man worked out of a suburban location and PECO is working closely to provide his colleagues with information and any support they need, Armstrong said.


RADNOR, PA – A PECO worker died after he was electrocuted Wednesday morning in Radnor Township, according to Radnor Police and PECO officials.

The 62-year-old worker was found after a power outage was reported in the Boxwood Road and Berwood Lane area in the Rosemont section of Radnor just after 5 a.m., police said.

When police arrived, an officer located a PECO bucket truck on scene and stopped to talk with the worker.

Police said when the officer yelled up to the truck's elevated bucket with no response, he shined his flashlight and saw a worker with his hands on the wire.

EMS and PECO crews responded and got the bucket and the deceased worker down, police said.

PECO officials said the incident is under investigation and that PECO is working with local authorities and industry regulators as the investigation progresses.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family," a PECO spokesman said.

Police said the worker's name is not being released as next of kin has yet to be notified.

Missouri plumbing contractor, Arrow Plumbing L.L.C., is facing $714,142 in proposed penalties after a 33-year-old worker died while working in an unprotected trench.

Missouri plumbing contractor,
Arrow Plumbing L.L.C., is facing $714,142 in proposed penalties after a 33-year-old worker died while working in an unprotected trench.

Inspectors for the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration found another employee of Blue Springs, Missouri-based Arrow Plumbing L.L.C. working in a similarly unprotected trench at another job site a month after the employee died in December 2016, OSHA said Monday in a statement.

OSHA determined that in both cases Arrow Plumbing failed to provide basic safeguards to prevent trench collapse and did not train its employees to recognize and avoid cave-in and other hazards. The agency cited the employer for six willful and eight serious violations of workplace safety standards.

A company spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comment.

Trench collapses are among the most dangerous hazards in the construction industry, according to OSHA, which received reports of 23 deaths and 12 injuries nationwide in trench and excavation operations in 2016. In the first five months of 2017, 15 deaths and 19 injuries have been reported in the United States.

“We call on all employers involved in excavation work to review their safety procedures and to ensure that all workers are properly protected and trained on the job,” Kimberly Stille, OSHA’s regional administrator in Kansas City, Missouri, said in a statement.

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BBB File Opened: 12/29/2009
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Business Category
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New York Rising Housing Redevelopment Program deadline to be extended? property owners have until June 30 to turn in documents to the state, indicating that an application for home elevation has been submitted to affected homeowners' local municipal building departments

Victims of Superstorm Sandy gathered with elected officials on Long Island Wednesday to call on Governor Andrew Cuomo to extend deadlines for the submission of documents required to receive reimbursement for the elevation of flood-damaged homes.

Hempstead Town Councilman Anthony D'Esposito was joined by residents from ravaged communities to make the plea, saying that homeowners, architects and builders are facing an unrealistic and unreasonable deadline.

"I never to this day thought that the state of New York and Long Island would take this long to recover under this amount of red tape," said Michelle Insinga, of the South Shore Recovery Coalition. "Please come to Long Island and see our folks. See what's really happening. Step foot here."

The state, through a program called New York Rising, is trying to help people elevate their homes to meet flood standards after Sandy devastated much the coastline.

They have until June 30 to turn in documents to the state, indicating that an application for home elevation has been submitted to affected homeowners' local municipal building departments.

"That type of deadline is unfair, unreasonable and, quite frankly, heartless," D'Esposito said. "Architects are overwhelmed with work to help homeowners, who are scurrying to meet the deadline."

Absent the documentation, flood victims' homes must be elevated by September 1, which they say is a wholly unreasonable expectation.

"What they've lost sight of is the realities on the ground," legislator Steven Rhoads said. "With the approaching September 1 deadline, there isn't an opportunity to be able to get plans submitted, to be able to get permits approved, and to simply be able to find a contractor who is going to be able to raise your home in time."

They cited industry officials and architects being overwhelmed with work, claiming homeowners are confronted with the prospect of losing tens of thousands of dollars in reimbursement as a result.

UPDATE: The Governor's Office tells Eyewitness News that the September 1 deadline has already been extended to June of 2018. Additionally, the spokesperson said the following regarding the June 30 deadline:

We have more than 11,000 participants in the NY rising program, almost 7,000 of whom have completed their work. The deadline refers to the people who are in the OPTIONAL elevation program - there are a total of 2,200 people in that program, some of whom have yet to report on their progress. We want them to let us know if they are underway with their elevations. We have always worked one on one with program applicants and will continue to do so. We are simply asking homeowners in the optional elevation program to show that they are actively pursuing optional elevation by submitting one of the following documents by June 30, 2017.

--A permit from your building department to commence elevation;
--A receipt from your building department documenting your application for an elevation permit; or
--The latest correspondence from your building department evidencing the submission of your elevation permit application.

We understand that some homeowners have had issues with local building departments issuing permits, which is why we have offered resources to some of the most impacted buildings departments to expedite the permitting process.

FIREFIGHTERS ARE THE TRUE HEROES, RISKING EVERY DAY THEIR LIVES: Firefighter Jeffery Sanders, 55, killed, and Jacob Hayward, 33, critically injured when a driver of a Ford struck another vehicle that was stopped in the roadway from behind in Missouri


55-year-old Firefighter Jeffery Sanders was killed, and a 2nd Firefighter, Jacob Hayward, 33, (Mayview, MO) was airlifted to Research Medical Center in Kansas City just after 1800 last night. Firefighter Hayward is reported to be in critical condition.

A driver of a Ford struck another vehicle that was stopped in the roadway from behind, which then struck a third vehicle that was also stopped. Both Firefighters were struck and caught underneath that third vehicle as it was sent down an embankment.

They were operating at the scene of a fire and their apparatus was reportedly pulled off the road. More to follow.



Mayview firefighter killed, another seriously injured in crash at fire scene

By Robert A. Cronkleton

A firefighter with the Mayview, Mo., Fire Protection District was killed and a second firefighter was seriously injured in a crash while at the scene of a fire Monday.

Jeffery M. Sanders, 55, died at the scene and Jacob J. Hayward, 33, was flown to a Kansas City hospital, according to the Missouri Highway Patrol.

The three-vehicle crash happened about 6 p.m. south of Mayview along Route E in Lafayette County while Sanders and Hayward were outside of their vehicle. Mayview is 45 miles east of Kansas City.

Read more here:

MAYVIEW, Mo. -- People in the tiny town of Mayview are mourning the death of one of their volunteer firefighters killed in the line of duty Monday.

Mayview is about 45 miles east of Kansas City in Lafayette County.

With only about 200 people, it seems every one knows everybody here. And the loss of a man who volunteered to help his community is hitting folks hard.

Jeffrey Sanders and his grandson (Image courtesy of Sanders' family).

Jeffery Sanders, 55, and Jacob Hayward, 33, responded to a tree limb on fire along state Highway E at about 6 p.m. Monday.

Townspeople tell me they believe a broken power line may have started the fire.

As the two finished putting out the blaze and were wrapping up their gear, their fire truck blocked the southbound lane of the highway.

Another driver slowed to stop and wait for the firefighters. But a third vehicle did not, hitting the second car and pushing it into the fire truck.

The fire truck rolled down a steep embankment trapping the two firefighters underneath the rig and killing Sanders. Hayward suffered serious injuries and is in the intensive care unit at Research Medical Center fighting for his life.

"It’s very thick in the air," said Audrey Nelson, whose son is also a volunteer firefighter in Mayview. "You know the whole town has a different, I didn’t even have to step out of my house this morning yet and I could tell the difference in the air. It’s heavy. It’s going to be rough but I think the town pulls together and tries to help the family the most that they can. I’m sure they will because that’s the way Mayview is."

Even when he wasn't volunteering as a firefighter, Nelson says Sanders was someone folks could count on, always stopping to help a neighbor in this rural area. His family declined to speak with FOX 4 on camera, but many in town say they're working to help the family through this trying time.

The Missouri Fire Services Funeral Assistance Team also says it will help the Mayview Fire Protection District make arrangements for a first-responder killed while serving others.

Fuyao Glass America has been cited again for alleged safety violations at its Moraine manufacturing plant in Ohio

Fuyao Glass America brought 2,000 jobs to town, but the explosion of investment has come with unexpected trouble over safety, culture clashes and foreign control. Nathan C. Ward/The New York Times 
  OSHA levies new safety allegations against Fuyao

Tom Gnau Staff Writer
5:22 p.m Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Fuyao Glass America has been cited again for alleged safety violations at its Moraine manufacturing plant, according to the Cincinnati office of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

And Fuyao’s environmental health and safety manager, John Crane, is no longer with the company, according to both Fuyao and Ken Montgomery, director of the Cincinnati-area OSHA office.

Safety issues have been raised at Fuyao in the past. Last November, OSHA proposed $226,937 in penalties against Fuyao for 23 “serious safety violations and one other-than-serious violation.” The penalties were later resolved between Fuyao and OSHA and the fines were reduced to $100,000.

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The company has now been cited for four new alleged safety violations, some of which are divided into multiple allegations. OSHA has proposed total fines of $37,843, according to a letter to the company from OSHA dated June 12.

Asked if these citations represent a step backwards for Fuyao, Montgomery said, “I don’t know what their plan is at this point.”

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He said the company is required to meet with OSHA representatives quarterly, and the next meeting is scheduled for the first week of August.

Fuyao has 15 working days from receiving the citation to request an informal conference contesting the allegations, should company leaders choose to go that route.

A message seeking comment was left for Crane.

On Wednesday, a Fuyao spokeswoman responded to questions, saying: “John Crane stepped down from the Fuyao safety team to pursue other professional opportunities.

“This team continues to execute on our comprehensive plan to improve safety inside our facility,” Fuyao’s statement also said. “While we may not agree with the legal conclusions of OSHA’s citations, we have and will continue to address the allegations they raise. Fuyao aims to exceed what is required of us by law. The safety and well-being of our employees is a common goal we share with OSHA.”

One citation alleges that in February, a Fuyao furnace operator was exposed to a possible fall while climbing on a three-foot-tall furnace.

Another citation says Fuyao had not evaluated furnaces to determine whether they were “permit-required confined spaces.” A third says the company had not ensured that workers entering a furnace had received training on working in permit-required confined spaces.

And a fourth citation says a worker who was servicing a furnace was not required to lock out a device from an energy source — ensuring that it could not be powered on. The citation said that in February an employee had entered a furnace without first locking out the space or verifying that electrical power was shut off before working on the machine.

And another citation alleges that a print operator was exposed to a hazard, due to the lack of a safeguard.”

Since 2014, Chinese industrialist and Fuyao Glass Industry Group Chairman Cho Tak Wong has transformed the former General Motors plant in Moraine into what the company says is the world’s biggest auto glass manufacturing site, with about 2,000 employees.


MORAINE, Ohio (WDTN) – Fuyao Glass America President John Gauthier is responding after several of Fuyao’s workers filed complaints with OSHA.

According to OSHA, the worker complaint detailed 30 safety issues, including fire hazards, electrocution risks, and lacerations to the hands and fingers. But, Gauthier says management didn’t learn of any of these alleged issues until they were reported in the media. That’s why he says good communication between the worker and the supervisor is the key to staying safe.

“We want to make sure our employees are as safe as they can be,” Gauthier said. “We also want to encourage our employees to bring these type of concerns to their supervisor.”

And by reporting these issues, Fuyao Glass America President John Gauthier says safety managers can immediately take action to fix the problem.

“Safety is not a one day thing,” Gauthier said. “Safety is a way of life in a manufacturing operation like this so no it’s not changing our attitude it’s not changing anything about our priorities. Our priority has always been that safety is number one.”

Fuyao would not answer specific questions about the alleged safety issues. However, they did tell us just this month, the company hired Environmental Health and Safety Manager John Crane–who previously worked for OSHA.

Crane says his main job is keeping an open line of communication between him and his other employees.

“Open communication is the key,” Crane said. “In the week that I’ve been here and the days I’ve been on sight my goal has been to interact with everyone I can, to work across all three shifts here at the workplace, and just to make sure that people are comfortable here, that they’re comfortable talking to me, and if they have immediate needs, I try to address those needs immediately.”

Currently, none of the workers at Fuyao are a part of the Union Of Autoworkers, but Gauthier says this might have been a way to get them to join.

We reached out to OSHA and the Union of Autoworkers about this story, but have yet to get a response.

A St. Louis judge declared a mistrial Monday in a talcum powder trial underway in St. Louis Circuit Court after the U.S. Supreme Court imposed limits on where injury lawsuits may be filed.

Mistrial declared in talcum powder suit after U.S. Supreme Court limits where companies can be sued

From staff and wire reports
Jun 19, 2017

ST. LOUIS • A St. Louis judge declared a mistrial Monday in a talcum powder trial underway in St. Louis Circuit Court after the U.S. Supreme Court imposed limits on where injury lawsuits may be filed.

It was the second time in three weeks that the court had sided with businesses that want to prevent plaintiffs from “venue shopping” for friendly courts for their cases.

In an 8-1 ruling, the justices overturned a lower court’s decision that had allowed hundreds of out-of-state patients who took Bristol-Myers Squibb’s blood-thinning medication Plavix to sue the company in California.

State courts cannot hear claims against companies that are not based in the state when the alleged injuries did not occur there, the justices ruled.

The Supreme Court on May 30 reached a similar conclusion in a separate case involving out-of-state injury claims against Texas-based BNSF Railway Co.

The mistrial in St. Louis was declared in a trial that started June 5 in front of St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison. A Webster Groves man and two out-of-state plaintiffs sued Johnson & Johnson and its supplier Imerys Talc America over a claim that talcum powder in its products caused ovarian cancer.

In Burlison’s courtroom Monday, Jim Onder, whose firm has represented plaintiffs in each of the six trials that have been held in St. Louis, and other plaintiffs’ lawyers argued that the latest talcum powder trial should continue because Johnson & Johnson and Imerys use a company with a plant in Union in Franklin County to package and label talc products. That company is Pharma Tech Industries. The plaintiffs’ lawyers also said they believed the court had jurisdiction because one of the three plaintiffs for this trial is a Webster Groves man whose wife died of ovarian cancer in 2011.

Lawyers for Johnson & Johnson and Imerys argued that Pharma Tech was simply one of the company’s contractors, playing no role in establishing a court’s jurisdiction over out-of-state plaintiffs.

“We’re pleased our request for a mistrial was granted,” a Johnson & Johnson spokeswoman said.

Onder said the U.S. Supreme Court decision is “horrible to judicial economy,” because it means cases cannot be consolidated and tried in one place, slowing the system down.

He said he still believes Burlison’s ruling gives plaintiffs a chance to try to prove that actions by Pharma Tech hurt his clients. That would allow claims for some 1,100 other plaintiffs to still be heard in St. Louis.

The judge said he did not believe it was fair for Johnson & Johnson to have to defend what are new claims over Pharma Tech’s involvement in the plaintiffs’ attempts to establish jurisdiction.

Onder said Pharma Tech probably would be added as a defendant in future lawsuits. A Pharma Tech representative could not immediately be reached Monday.

In light of Burlison’s ruling, talcum powder plaintiffs in St. Louis will try to prove that they used and were injured by Johnson & Johnson products actually processed in Missouri, according to former St. Louis University Dean Mike Wolff.

Missouri’s “joinder rule” says that two or more plaintiffs who live either in- or out-of-state can join the same lawsuit if their claims arise out of the “same transaction or occurrence or series of transactions or occurrences,” Wolff said. The Supreme Court’s decision challenges the rule and requires a stronger connection between a plaintiff and the state where they sue.

“What the talcum powder plaintiffs are trying to do is say that there’s a Missouri connection,” Wolff said. “In the Bristol-Myers Squibb case, the plaintiffs could not show any connection between the injured plaintiffs outside the state of California and any activity in the state.”

The Supreme Court ruling Monday could wipe out five previous verdicts from trials in St. Louis against Johnson & Johnson. Four of five trials over the past 16 months ended in plaintiff’s verdicts exceeding $300 million. The four verdicts against the company have been appealed, and the appeals court had said it would await the Bristol-Myers Squibb decision before ruling.

Companies typically can be sued in a state where they are headquartered or incorporated, as well as where they have important ties. Businesses want to limit the ability of plaintiffs to shop for courts in states with laws conducive to injury lawsuits.

Plaintiffs contend that corporations are seeking to squeeze their access to compensation for injuries by denying them their day in state courts.

The underlying lawsuits filed in 2012 against Bristol-Myers and California-based drug distributor McKesson Corp. involved 86 California residents and 575 non-Californians, alleging Plavix increased their risk of stroke, heart attack and internal bleeding.

Bristol-Myers argued it should not face claims in California by plaintiffs who do not live in the state. The company is incorporated in Delaware and headquartered in New York.

The California Supreme Court ruled in August 2016 that it could preside over the case because Bristol-Myers conducted a national marketing campaign and sold nearly $1 billion of the drug in the state.

Writing for the Supreme Court majority on Monday, Justice Samuel Alito said the California court was wrong to rule that it could hear the case “without identifying any adequate link between the state and the nonresidents’ claim.”

In a dissenting opinion, Justice Sonia Sotomayor predicted that the Supreme Court’s ruling will make it harder to consolidate lawsuits against corporations in state courts and lead to unfairness for individual injury plaintiffs.

There “is nothing unfair about subjecting a massive corporation to suit in a state for a nationwide course of conduct that injures” state residents and nonresidents alike, Sotomayor wrote.