Articles Posted in Companies & Asbestos

A virtual mesothelioma cancer trial recently got underway via Zoom in a Washington state court with each side presenting their opening arguments to the 16 person jury in Seattle. King County, Wash., is one of the most active jurisdictions in the country when it comes to virtual hearings during coronavirus pandemic. The judge presiding over the case did so from her courtroom, while all the other parties logged into Zoom from their remote locations.

According to the mesothelioma cancer lawsuit , filed in Superior Court of Washington for King County, the plaintiff worked as a boiler worker in a shipyard replacing asbestos containing parts manufactured by Alabama-based Pryor-Giggey Co., a refractory company acquired by Allied Mineral Products Inc. in 2017. The plaintiff performed boiler upgrades on U.S. Navy ships, which involved removing and replacing asbestos-containing castable refractory named Lite-Wate, a heat-resistant material that lines the inside of the boiler.

The victim asserts that in the course of ripping out and replacing these asbestos containing refractories, a large amount of dust was created, and that it contained asbestos fibers which he would routinely inhale during the course of his daily work at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard during the 1970’s. The mesothelioma cancer lawsuit goes on to state that the dangers of asbestos exposure had already been well known in the industry by then, but the defendant continued to use the carcinogenic product in its parts supplied to shipyards.

A New York City court recently struck down a defendant’s attempt in a mesothelioma cancer lawsuit to have the case thrown out on summary judgment, thus allowing the case to proceed on to trial and allow the victim’s widow to pursue justice on behalf of her deceased husband. The three-judge panel of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York County upheld the trial judge’s decision to deny defendant’s Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to dismiss the case on the grounds that the plaintiff had attempted to introduce evidence that would be inadmissible under the law.

According to the mesothelioma cancer lawsuit, filed in 2017, the victim worked at the Pan Am Unit Terminal Building at JFK International Airport during the 1970s while employed by Pan Am Airlines. During that time, according to the lawsuit, the victim was routinely exposed to asbestos fibers emanating from ongoing construction, particularly by the sanding of sheetrock manufactured by Georgia-Pacific. The lawsuit asserts that the sheet rock used in the renovations of the terminal where the victim was employed contained asbestos fibers, and that this exposure is what caused the victim’s terminal mesothelioma cancer diagnosis, which he succumbed to in 2016.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was onced used in a variety of industrial, commercial, construction applications as an insulation and building material. Unfortunately, asbestos fibers are also carcinogenic and despite knowing this public health risk for decades, many asbestos companies continued to use the material and put profits over the value of people.

The New Jersey state supreme court recently allowed a pair of talcum powder cancer lawsuits to proceed to trial. A lower court had overturned another judge’s decision to toss out the matter and effectively rule in favor of the defendant, Johnson & Johnson. Pharmaceutical and cosmetics giant Johnson & Johnson had petitioned the state’s highest court to review the case’s revival after New Jersey’s Appellate Division ruled in August that a lower Superior Court judge had improperly tossed the two cases after determining that plaintiffs’ expert witnesses were not credible.

“The trial judge was called upon to assess whether the opinions were the product of reliable data and employed methodologies accepted by the scientific community,” the three-judge Appellate Division panel wrote. “Instead, he selected defendants’ scientific methodologies over plaintiffs’, a process well beyond the gatekeeping function, and which resulted in an abuse of discretion.”

According to one of the two talcum powder cancer lawsuits, filed in 2014 in Atlantic County Superior Court, the victims developed ovarian cancer from years of using Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based Baby Powder. Other similar lawsuits filed against Johnson & Johnson claim that the company knew for decades about possible links between long term use of its talcum powder cosmetics products and women developing ovarian cancer and other serious forms of cancer.

A Washington state court recently issued a strong penalty against a defendant in a mesothelioma cancer lawsuit for what the judge determined to be willful withholding of evidence by the defendant and false statements by defense counsel. In determining that the defendant, PACCAR, Inc. willfully violated rules of civil discovery procedure to produce evidence in the asbestos cancer lawsuit, the Pierce County Superior Court ruled that the defendant must pay the plaintiff $150,000, as well as attorneys fees for the time the plaintiff’s lawyers spent litigating the matter over the evidence in question.

The evidence in question in the mesothelioma cancer lawsuit concerned blueprints of trucks manufactured by a subsidiary of PACCAR, Kenworth, which contained information such as what companies supplied brakes, engines, axels, clutches, etc. Additionally, the blueprints, known as “build sheets” would contain information regarding the part’s model number and the totality of the information from the buildsheets would be of value to the plaintiff’s case that he developed mesothelioma from asbestos containing parts manufactured by the defendant and/or its subsidiary, which the victim’s employer purchased and maintained.

In response to the plaintiff’s request for build sheets of Kenworth vehicles, the defendant and its counsel responded by asserting that the build sheets could only be searched if the plaintiff could provide a vehicle information number for the truck make in question, that there were no records of to what entities the Kenworth trucks were ultimately sold, and that the build sheets were kept on microfiche and it would be too burdensome to hand search each build sheet. The court subsequently ordered PACCAR to turn over 10 randomly selected build sheets so that the plaintiffs and the court could have a better understanding of the information contained therein.

A federal appeals court has upheld a record-setting mesothelioma cancer verdict in North Carolina, finding no fault with the manner in which the trial court oversaw the case or the legal reasoning for refusing to reduce the multimillion dollar jury verdict. With the three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upholding the $32.7 million dollar verdict in the lower federal district court in North Carolina, the award constitutes the largest ever single-plaintiff and largest ever mesothelioma cancer lawsuit verdict in the state’s history.

According to the mesothelioma cancer lawsuit, originally filed in U.S. District Court for the District of North Carolina, the plaintiff’s husband worked at the Firestone Tire Plant in Wilson, North Carolina, from 1975 until 1995. The plaintiff alleged that during his employment at the Firestone tire plant, her husband was exposed to asbestos fibers in insulation pipes in the curing room of the plant, where he would change tires in the tire mold presses. The curing room of the tire plant contained 120 steam operated tire presses, connected to multiple steam pipes which the plaintiff asserted were insulated with asbestos-containing materials.

While the defendant, Covil Corporation, did not manufacture or supply the tire presses, the company did admit to supplying hundreds of feet of the asbestos-containing insulation materials which covered the pipes from these machines. Upon the victim’s passing away from mesothelioma cancer, the plaintiff filed a wrongful death mesothelioma cancer lawsuit against Covil Corporation, claiming that the company’s asbestos containing pipe insulation was responsible for her husband’s mesothelioma cancer diagnosis.

A New York City jury recently handed down a substantial verdict to a woman who blamed the maker of the talc-based cosmetics powder for her cancer diagnosis, claiming that the company knew for decades about the risk of asbestos exposure but provided no warning to her and other consumers about the dangers. The Manhattan jury awarded the plaintiffs, the victim and her husband, $325 million in actual and punitive damages, finding that defendant Johnson & Johnson acted with negligence and recklessness by knowingly selling a carcinogenic product to the public.

The $325 million awarded consisted of $25 million in actual damages of medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, as well as a tremendous $300 million in punitive damages for what the jury deemed to be especially reckless conduct on the part of Johnson & Johnson. However, the judge hearing the case ultimately cut the jury’s award down to $15 million in actual damages and $105 million in punitive damages but gave the plaintiffs the option of requesting a new trial solely for the damages portion of the case. Ultimately, the plaintiffs opted to accept the reduced award.

The asbestos cancer lawsuit alleged that the plaintiff developed mesothelioma cancer from years of using asbestos-contaminated Baby Powder manufactured and sold by pharmaceutical and cosmetics giant Johnson & Johnson. The plaintiff filed her lawsuit back in 2017 after receiving her mesothelioma diagnosis, which is a rare and deadly form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos and commonly affects the thin linings of tissue surrounding vital organs such as the heart and lungs and abdominal cavity.

The Missouri Supreme Court recently rejected a bid by the world’s largest pharmaceutical and cosmetics producer to overturn a monumental award in an asbestos cancer lawsuit handed down by jurors back in July 2018. The Court refused to hear an appeal stemming from a June decision from the state’s appeals court that upheld liability on the part of defendant Johnson & Johnson along with a substantial portion of the multibillion dollar verdict handed down by the jury in the trial court.

In 2018, a Missouri state court jury handed down $4.69 billion to 22 plaintiffs in a lawsuit that alleged Johnson & Johnson’s iconic Baby Powder caused their cancer diagnosis, many of which were terminal. At trial, the jury was presented with evidence which showed that Johnson & Johnson knew as far back as the 1970s that the talcum powder used for its Baby Powder product was contaminated with asbestos fibers but chose not to disclose any warnings on the labels of its products for consumers.

The $4.69 billion verdict was eventually reduced by the Missouri state appeals court down to $2.12 billion but still upheld the jury’s verdict, saying that it was reasonable to infer from the evidence that Johnson & Johnson “disregarded the safety of consumers” for the sake of profit, despite knowing its talc products caused ovarian cancer. With the Missouri Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the case, Johnson & Johnson’s last option to throw out the award lies with an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, which the company vowed it would do after news broke of the decision.

A Louisiana state jury recently handed down a substantial verdict in a mesothelioma cancer lawsuit brought by a former longshoreman who claims he developed a serious form of lung cancer from years of asbestos exposure during the 1960s. The New Orleans jury found that defendants Ports America Gulfport Inc., Cooper T. Smith Stevedoring Co. Inc. and South African Marine Corp. were all responsible for the plaintiff’s mesothelioma diagnosis, and awarded the victim $10.3 million in total compensation for his injuries.

According to the asbestos cancer lawsuit, filed in Louisiana Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans, the plaintiff developed mesothelioma from unloading raw asbestos from ships docked at the wharfs he worked from 1964 to 1968. The plaintiff further alleged that he came in contact with asbestos through second hand exposure from the work clothes his father would wear while working as a longshoreman himself.

The lawsuit alleged that the defendants knew or should have known about the dangers posed by asbestos and provided warning to the plaintiff and other workers. Instead, the lawsuit alleges, the defendants chose to ignore such information or condoned the concealment of such in order to continue with their business practice of selling asbestos and asbestos-containing products. As a result of the defendants’ negligence, the plaintiff developed mesothelioma and suffered serious injury.

An Ohio appeals court recently revived an asbestos cancer lawsuit brought by the widow of a mesothelioma cancer victim who claimed that he developed a rare and deadly form of lung cancer from years of exposure to asbestos while working with the Bendix brakes. After a Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas granted the defendant, Honeywell International, Inc., summary judgment in 2017, the Eighth Appellate District in Ohio agreed with the plaintiff that the lower court erred in its decision and that there were genuine issues of fact about the case for a jury to decide in a court of law.

According to the asbestos cancer lawsuit, the plaintiff’s widow alleged that her husband developed mesothelioma from using Bendix brake products developed by Honeywell International while working as a supervisor for a company that manufactured intercity buses. The plaintiff presented testimony from the victim’s coworker that stated the victim spent significant time in the area of the facility where brake work was being done, where asbestos fibers from the defendant’s Bendix brakes were present in the air. Further, the plaintiff claimed that her husband was exposed to asbestos fibers during the time he worked in the area of the facility where Bendix brake linings were grounded.

Fortunately for the plaintiff, the Ohio appeals court agreed that the case should be heard by a jury and gave the victim a chance for his case to be heard in court, six years after his passing in 2014. The case is yet another example of the lengths to which gigantic companies will go in order to skirt liability for the harm caused by the products they knew or should have known could pose a health risk to workers and the general public.

Pharmaceutical and cosmetics giant Johnson & Johnson recently agreed to a significant settlement to resolve over 1,000 talcum powder asbestos cancer lawsuits claiming that plaintiffs developed serious forms of cancer, including mesothelioma, as a result of exposure to deadly carcinogens in the company’s talc-based products. The terms of the settlement, the first major settlement during the years of litigation related to the cases, calls for Johnson & Johnson to pay more than $100 million in total to the group of plaintiffs, but still leaves thousands more cases unresolved.

According to securities filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Johnson & Johnson faces an estimated 20,000 other asbestos cancer lawsuits from plaintiffs who claim that they developed cancer from years of using the company’s iconic Baby Powder and Shower to Shower products. This year, despite maintaining that its products are safe for consumers, Johnson & Johnson announced that it will cease all sales of talc-based Baby Powder in North America, while continuing to sell the original formula with talc in overseas markets.

Many lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson allege that the talc-based Baby Powder and Shower to Shower products are contaminated with carcinogenic asbestos fibers, which are directly linked to developing mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a rare and deadly form of cancer that commonly affects thin linings of tissues surrounding vital organs such as the lungs, heart, and abdominal cavity. While researchers and scientists across the globe continue to search for a cure and make progress developing therapeutics to help mesothelioma patients, there is still currently no cure for the disease and patients are often left with months to live by the time a diagnosis is made.

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