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Articles Posted in Mesothelioma Attorney

A New York asbestos court recently struck down a motion by defendants in an asbestos cancer lawsuit which has sought to dismiss the case on the grounds that the plaintiff was a smoker who otherwise ignored health warnings on the packages of cigarettes he smoked. In its decision, the New York Supreme Court for the County of New York soundly rejected the desperate attempt by defendants Viacom Inc. and General Electric Company to avoid liability for the alleged negligence that the plaintiff’s estate claims was directly responsible for the victim’s mesothelioma diagnosis.

The crux of Viacom and General Electric’s motion for summary judgment was that since now deceased plaintiff was a longtime smoker who did not heed the warnings placed on cigarette packages he smoked, the victim therefore would have ignored any warnings the companies would have, but did not, place on their own allegedly carcinogenic asbestos products. In response, the plaintiff’s estate argued that he had not been aware of the dangers of smoking cigarettes when he started his habit, but tried repeatedly to quit once he learned of the health risks.

In its decision, the New York Supreme Court called the defendants’ argument “speculative” and that the question of the victim’s credibility to his claims must be left to a jury to decide. The court further found another motion brought by defendants to dismiss claims for punitive damages as unpersuasive, leaving open the possibility that a jury could ultimately award additional damages should they find the companies’ conduct rose to the standards which would warrant such additional compensation.

A recently published study by Japanese researchers appears to show that a novel type of cancer immunotherapy helped shrink tumors in lab mice, which could bode as a promising treatment for mesothelioma cancer and other serious types of cancers. The study examined the use of near-infrared photoimmunotherapy, a type of technology that uses a chemical to make some cells more sensitive to light and then targets the cancer cells with focused light beams.

Through the course of their study, the Japanese team exploited certain proteins which mesothelioma tumors overexpress. By targeting these proteins with the photoimmunty treatments, researchers were able to shrink the size of the mesothelioma tumors in the mice studied. Furthermore, when the tumor cells exploded, the lab subject’s immune system was able to identify the remaining cancer cell tissues as foreign bodies and attack them in response to destroy the cancer.

Researchers believe that by using a combination of surgery to remove the tumor and photoimmunotherapy to destroy remaining tumor cells, doctors can make great strides in treating cancer. While surgery and chemotherapy have been the traditional methods used to treat mesothelioma, various types of immunotherapy have shown great promise to treat mesothelioma and other forms of aggressive cancers.

A New Jersey federal judge recently handed down an important ruling which will allow thousands of talcum powder asbestos cancer lawsuits to proceed against pharmaceutical and cosmetics giant Johnson & Johnson. The plaintiffs lawsuits allege that they developed serious forms of cancer, including mesothelioma, as a result of exposure to deadly asbestos fibers in Johnson & Johnson products such as the company’s iconic Baby Powder and Shower to Shower.

An estimated 16,000 asbestos cancer lawsuits had been consolidated in a multidistrict litigation before the federal judge in a process in which she would make rulings on common discovery which would apply to each individual case. At issue was the expert testimony of eight witnesses put forth by the plaintiffs’ lawyers set to testify about how exposure to talc and asbestos can cause cancer based on epidemiological studies. Johnson & Johnson had sought to block the testimony of the experts by calling for a “Daubert” motion.

Fortunately for the plaintiffs, the judge conducting the evidentiary hearings determined that the experts may testify to certain areas of expertise. Had the judge ruled in Johnson & Johnson’s favor, it is likely that the plaintiffs would not have been able to carry on with their lawsuits to trial where victims could present evidence of the causal relationship between their exposure to talc and asbestos in Johnson & Johnson products and their development of cancer.

Recent analysis by a North Carolina-based research group showed an astounding amount of asbestos fibers in two talc-based eyeshadow products commonly available on websites like Amazon and eBay. The findings represent just the latest revelation in talc-based cosmetics products that have tested positive for the deadly carcinogen, with some of them directly marketed at younger customers.

According to the study performed by Scientific Analytical Institute, and commissioned by the Environmental Working Group in Washington, D.C., 40% of the shades of eyeshadow in Jmkcoz’s 120 Colors Eyeshadow Palette contained asbestos, and 20% of the shades tested in the company’s Beauty Glazed Gorgeous Me Eye Shadow Tray Palette tested positive for asbestos. In response to the findings, both Amazon and eBay have removed the products for sale from their websites, but many other similar makeup kits are available for purchase on both online retailers.

“We urge anyone who has purchased either of these products for themselves, family or friends to take necessary steps to ensure they are no longer being used,” said Tasha Stoiber, a senior scientist at the Environmental Working Group, in a statement. “And we call on these companies and online retailers to immediately pull both of these products from their respective websites.”

A recent study published by an international team of researchers examined the safety and efficacy of radiation treatments for patients diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer in pleural lining of their lungs, known as pleural mesothelioma. In their study, the radiation oncology experts determined that proton therapy for mesothelioma cancer of the lungs may be a safer alternative to standard radiotherapy using photons to kill the tumor cells in the patient’s organs.

Commissioned on behalf of the International Particle Therapy Co-operative Group (PTCOG) Thoracic Subcommittee, the study outlines that radiation therapy for mesothelioma “remains challenging, as normal tissue toxicity limits the amount of radiation that can be safely delivered to the pleural surfaces, especially radiation dose to the contralateral lung.” What this means is that patients can only tolerate only so much of the radiation treatment to kill tumor cells before the healthy tissue surrounding the cancer also becomes affected.

According to their analysis, the researchers found that proton therapy resulted in more healthy tissue being spared from the harmful side effects of radiation therapy. As compared to photon radiation therapy, patients require a much more dramatic reduction in the dose of the treatment to surrounding tissue, which results in better outcomes for that healthy tissue. The researchers note that changes to the patient’s condition, with respect to migration of the disease to other organs in the body, could present challenges to providing the optimal dose of proton therapy to the patient.

Pharmaceutical and cosmetics giant Johnson & Johnson has announced that the company will cease sales of talc-based Baby Powder in the United States and Canada, calling it a “commercial decision” to wind down sales in those markets. Johnson & Johnson’s cornstarch based Baby Powder will continue to be sold in North America, which the company claims accounts for three-quarters of all the sales of its iconic cosmetic product, but that the talc-based version will continue to be distributed to overseas markets. While cornstarch-based sales dominate North American sales, overseas consumers overwhelmingly purchase the talc-based formula.

According to the company’s chairman of its North America consumer branch, Johnson & Johnson will continue to sell its existing inventory through retailers until the product runs out. Although Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder accounts for less than 1% of the company’s overall sales, which have seen sharp declines over the past few years, the product is one of the company’s flagship items and has been used by millions of individuals for many decades.

While Johnson & Johnson may publicly state that its move to discontinue sales of talc-based Baby Powder in North America may be a market driven decision, the truth may actually be that the company is finally feeling the pressure of the 20,000 talcum powder asbestos cancer lawsuits it is facing. Those claims allege that Johnson & Johnson acted negligently when it failed to provide warnings to consumers about the risks of using its talc-based cosmetics products, and that the company knew for decades about the risk of asbestos contamination in products like Baby Powder and Shower to Shower.

The family of a Missouri man recently settled an asbestos cancer claim on behalf of his estate. They reached a resolution out of court under the state’s mesothelioma benefits law, which allows employers to pay claims through a group insurance plan. As part of the settlement, the deceased’s estate will recover more than $791,000 in damages in exchange for the plaintiffs dismissing claims against the defendants.

According to the asbestos cancer lawsuit, filed in December, 2018 in the 22nd Judicial Circuit in St. Louis, Missouri, the victim developed a rare form of asbestos-related cancer from years of working with carcinogenic products developed by the defendants. Media reports show that the defendant worked for Central Electric Power Cooperative in Chamois, Missouri, for 17 years ending in 1982. The plaintiff’s lawsuit alleged that his exposure to asbestos laden products occured from 1962 to 1977.

As a result of his years of exposure to products containing asbestos, the defendant was diagnosed with mesothelioma in November 2017 and sadly passed away while litigation in the case was pending. His surviving family members carried on the claim on his behalf against the defendants, among which included his former employer Central Electric Power Cooperative, General Electric, Ford Motor Company, and a whole host of other industrial companies and others manufacturing products containing asbestos.

A recent study by U.S. researchers has found that despite projections, pleural mesothelioma diagnosis rates would decline early this century, the data analyzed over a 10-year period suggests that diagnosis rates have remained steady. Fortunately, the data looked at also suggests that survival rates of pleural mesothelioma patients have improved and those with this form of the cancer are living longer lives than those in previous generations.

Mesothelioma is a rare and deadly form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure. The disease commonly affects the thin linings of tissue surrounding vital organs such as the heart, lungs, and abdominal cavity. Mesothelioma cancers which affect the lungs are known as pleural mesothelioma, as they affect the pleural linings of the lungs.

In their study, researchers at the Taussig Cancer Center at the Cleveland Clinic looked at data from almost 21,000 pleural mesothelioma from 2004 to 2014 provided to them by the National Cancer Database. Some of the main focus of the study looked into the incidence rates, types of treatment available, and survival rates of pleural mesothelioma patients across diverse demographics of gender, age, income, and medical history.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently granted final approval of a new brand of a chemotherapy drug already in use by oncologists to treat malignant pleural mesothelioma and advanced stage non small cell lung cancer. Starting in February 2020, doctors will be allowed to prescribe Pemfexy, a type of chemotherapy drug called pemetrexed, and provide an alternative treatment to the name brand drug Alimta.

The new chemotherapy works as an injection, which is combined with cisplatin for patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma whose disease is unresectable or who are otherwise ineligible for curative surgery in combination with cisplatin. This new type of pemetrexed injection was already tentatively approved for use by the FDA in 2017 after the agency determined that the drug met all required quality, safety, and efficacy standards.

However, patients in the United States were not eligible to receive the treatment because the company that holds the patent for the standard pemetrexed treatment held patent protections on the product. Now, with a settlement agreement between the two sides, Eagle pharmaceuticals will be able to bring limited supplies of Pemfexy beginning in February 2020 and uncapped entry in April 2020.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam recently signed into law legislation passed by the state legislature which extends the deadlines for which asbestos cancer victims have to file lawsuits against companies they believe are responsible for their diagnosis. House Bill 781 passed unanimously through the House and Senate and will circumvent a decision from the Virginia Supreme Court that ruled the statute of limitations begins on the first diagnosis of any condition related to asbestos exposure.

That ruling from the Virginia Supreme Court came in 2013 from the state’s Third Circuit Court of Appeals. In that case, Kiser v. A.W. Chesterton, the Court was asked to determine whether the statute of limitations in an asbestos cancer lawsuit begins at the time of a mesothelioma diagnosis or, as in this case, when a doctor makes a separate diagnosis of a non-mesothelioma cancer diagnosis. Virginia, like other states, has various laws on statutes of limitations as they apply to injury claims and the time periods in which they can be filed.

In Kiser, the plaintiff sued numerous asbestos manufacturers and distributors in 1988 for damages related to the nonmalignant pleural thickening of his lungs, as well as asbestosis. 20 years later, the plaintiff was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of lung cancer directly linked to asbestos exposure. Sadly, the plaintiff passed away from his mesothelioma cancer just three months after receiving his diagnosis, and his family filed a wrongful death lawsuit on his behalf in 2010 against another group of defendants not named in the 1988 lawsuit.

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