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A prominent asbestos researcher recently gave testimony in an asbestos mesothelioma cancer trial claiming that trace amounts of asbestos have been detected in talc sourced from mines in Vermont and Italy used in Johnson & Johnson products. That expert gave his testimony on behalf of a mesothelioma cancer patient who sued Johnson & Johnson over claims the company knew for decades about asbestos contamination in its talc-based products but refrained from placing any warning on product labels.

The case is the sixth such asbestos cancer lawsuit to go to trial against pharmaceutical and cosmetics giant Johnson & Johnson, with some naming its talc supplier Imerys USA as a co-defendant, blaming the company for causing mesothelioma. The plaintiff in this case filed her claim in Los Angeles County Superior court and named, among other defendants, Johnson & Johnson, Chanel, and their supplier Imerys.

Johnson & Johnson faces thousands of other lawsuits across the country by plaintiffs who claim they also developed various forms of cancer related to using talc-based products developed and sold by the company for decades. Recently, a Missouri jury awarded a group of 22 plaintiffs a total of $4.69 billion in compensatory and punitive damages for their asbestos cancer diagnosis that was caused by talc products marketed and sold by Johnson & Johnson. That very same verdict was also upheld by the trial court judge, clearing a major legal hurdle for plaintiffs trying to be made whole again.

The New Jersey state Supreme Court recently handed down a significant ruling that will have an important impact on asbestos cancer litigation in the state and potentially nationwide for claims against Honeywell International and other asbestos companies. The ruling centers around the insurance many of these asbestos companies retain in order to shield themselves financially from verdicts and settlements in mesothelioma cancer lawsuits for claims related to asbestos-contaminated products.

In its decision, the New Jersey Supreme Court affirmed lower state court rulings holding that a policyholder is not required to contribute in the allocation of insurance liability for periods when the relevant insurance coverage was unavailable to that policyholder in the marketplace. What this means is that insurance companies indemnifying asbestos companies may still be on the hook for legal bills even if the manufacturer did not have continuous coverage from the insurance company in question during the time the defective products were manufactured.

The case arose because Honeywell International, which once manufactured brake pads with asbestos in them, sought coverage from its carrier, Continental Insurance Company, for thousands of mesothelioma cancer claims brought against it. Continental attempted to avoid paying the claims, arguing that Honeywell International did not have coverage during the time periods in which the company manufactured the asbestos-laden products that brought on the lawsuits.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), contrary to recent media reports, the agency is moving closer to closing loopholes on the importation and manufacturing of the deadly carcinogen, asbestos. The EPA cited its newly received powers under a bipartisan Obama-era law that gives the agency the authority to impose a new decision making process known as “significant new use rule,” or SNUR, which will create a “regulatory backstop where none existed before.”

Recent reports across the media indicated that the EPA was actually considering pulling back on strengthening federal regulations against the once-commonly used insulation material responsible for thousands of new cases of mesothelioma cancer each year. Specifically, safety experts asserted that the EPA was actually creating a process by which asbestos companies could submit requests for using the carcinogen in ways such as adhesive, roofing material, and floor tile.

The EPA gained this authority under a 2016 amendment to a decades-old chemical safety law that required the agency to periodically review the hazards posed by certain chemicals and toxic substances that could pose a danger to the public. According to an EPA spokesperson, the agency is currently reviewing the status of certain grandfathered exemptions to federal asbestos bans to determine if these methods are still in production, then closing the loopholes to halt any further production.

Justice recently came for the widow of a former auto mechanic who passed away after a battle with mesothelioma brought on by years of exposure to asbestos fibres while working at a large chemical company his estate claimed was responsible for the cancer diagnosis. The settlement came during the middle of a trial in a Philadelphia court, allowing the defendants to end the litigation without having to disclose the terms of the resolution or admit fault for manufacturing the asbestos-contaminated materials that caused the victim to become sick.

According to the asbestos cancer lawsuit, filed in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, the victim worked in a Gulf Oil Gas Station in South Fork from 1957-1958 performing various auto repairs with asbestos-containing brake shoes. The deceased also worked for chemical company Rohm & Haas from 1959-1997 at its Bristol facility as well as its Bristol and Croydon plants where he was allegedly exposed to asbestos fibers in thermal insulation contained on piping, kettles, boilers, valves, pumps, turbines and other equipment.

Asbestos was once commonly used in a variety of industrial, commercial, and military applications for its heat-resistant and malleable properties as an insulation. Unfortunately for workers and installers, the material is also carcinogenic and directly linked to developing the deadly cancer, mesothelioma.

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