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Articles Posted in Mesothelioma Attorney

The family of a former Penn State University professor recently filed an asbestos cancer lawsuit against the school alleging that the victim passed away from mesothelioma cancer that he developed after years of working in dangerous conditions at the educational institution. The lawsuit seeks to recover compensation for the victim’s pain and suffering and hold the university responsible for knowingly placing the victim at undue risk in unsafe work environments.

According to the mesothelioma cancer lawsuit, filed in a Pennsylvania state court in Pittsburgh in 2016, the victim developed mesothelioma as a result of working in buildings which the university knew were constructed with asbestos in floor and ceiling tiles and insulation. The lawsuit alleges that the victim was diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer in 2014 and passed away just four months later, 12 years after retiring from teaching as a wood sciences professor.

The asbestos cancer lawsuit against Penn State cites a study conducted by the university in the 1970s which showed that almost one hundred buildings on its campus were built with asbestos materials. However, despite this knowledge, the school eventually ceased asbestos abatement in 1989 after administrators cited budgetary concerns, noting that “In all future projects, our goal should be to minimize the removal of asbestos to only what is absolutely required. Obviously, this will help us a lot in the area of project budgets.”

An Illinois state appeals court recently upheld a substantial $4.6 million verdict in a mesothelioma cancer lawsuit brought by a union pipefitter who worked with products manufactured by John Crane, Inc. during the 1950s. In its ruling, the First District Appellate Court determined the trial court was right to allow the plaintiff’s attorneys to present expert testimony showing the victim’s asbestos cancer diagnosis was a result of exposure to asbestos fibers while working with John Crane products.

In his lawsuit, the plaintiff testified that he suffered from significant asbestos exposure from valves and gaskets, including those manufactured by the defendant. At trial, the plaintiff’s expert witness testified that the products manufactured by John Crane were a substantial contributing factor to the victim’s mesothelioma cancer diagnosis. Defense attorneys harped on testimony by this expert for the plaintiffs in which he explained the nuances in the relationship between asbestos exposure and developing mesothelioma cancer.

Additionally, the defendant took issue with the jury instructions given to the panel to help them reach a decision during their deliberations. These jury instructions are a standard part of our judicial system and both inform the jury of the legal standards for reaching a verdict and how they must apportion responsibility in civil cases. John Crane’s attorneys had asked the judge to give the jurors specialized jury instructions pattered for the particular case, though the trial judge determined that the Illinois state pattern instructions were sufficient.

A recent Duke University study published in The American Journal of Surgical Pathology examined hundreds of women diagnosed with diffuse mesothelioma, looking to an analyzing trends among the group which could eventually shed light on new treatment and detection methods. One of the key findings in the mesothelioma cancer study found that women with objective markers were diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma and that their average age of diagnosis was older compared to those diagnosed with another common type of the cancer, peritoneal mesothelioma.

The mesothelioma cancer study, which was a continuation study of an ongoing study by Duke University, examined 354 female mesothelioma patients of which the overwhelmingly majority were known to have been exposed to asbestos. The authors state that this exposure came from household contact, primarily from a family member who would have been exposed to asbestos fibers in an industrial setting. Of those studied, 275 patients had a pleural mesothelioma diagnosis which corresponds to linings of tissue surrounding the lungs and 79 cases were those of peritoneal mesothelioma which affects tissue linings around the abdominal cavity.

The researchers found that survival rates were longer for those with epithelial subtypes of peritoneal mesothelioma, though their average age of diagnosis was younger at 52 years of age compared to 62 years of age for those diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma. Further, researchers found that tremolite asbestos was a common form of the mineral which the patients were exposed to, followed by amphibole asbestos – considered one of the most deadly forms of the mineral. Some of these types of asbestos are found in cosmetics products such as talcum powder.

After nearly a two-week-long asbestos cancer trial, pharmaceutical and cosmetics giant Johnson & Johnson agreed to a rare settlement with the plaintiff who alleges she developed a rare and deadly form of lung cancer as a result of using one of the company’s most popular and iconic talc-based products. As part of the settlement, the New Jersey-based company reportedly agreed to pay the plaintiff $2 million and resolve the case without admitting any wrongdoing in the matter.

The settlement is a rare move by Johnson & Johnson, which faces an estimated nearly 17,000 other cases alleging plaintiffs developed serious forms of cancer, including mesothelioma, from using asbestos-contaminated talcum powder products produced and marketed by the company. To date, jurors in state courts in California, Missouri, and New Jersey have handed down verdicts in favor of plaintiffs totaling over $5 billion in total compensation, including punitive damages for what the juries deemed especially reckless conduct on Johnson & Johnson’s part.

Johnson & Johnson was not the only defendant in the case to reach a settlement. The 61-year old plaintiff also named London-based Rio Tinto Minerals as a defendant, which reportedly mined the talc that was used in the Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder the plaintiff allegedly developed mesothelioma from. As a result of settlements with all parties involved, the Oakland County jury was dismissed and will no longer need to deliver a verdict in the case.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced that it will host a public forum discussing the methods used to test for asbestos fibers in talc-based products, as well as the terminology and criteria that can be used to measure the carcinogen in consumer products. During that forum, the FDA will discuss preliminary recommendations from the Interagency Working Group on Asbestos in Consumer Products (IWGAC)—an interagency working group formed in 2018 to support the development of standardized testing methods for asbestos and other harmful particles.

The purpose of the IWGAC is to address the terminology and definitions of asbestos, recommend improvements for measuring asbestos in talc-based products, and recommend testing standards to test these products. The FDA forum comes two-years after the agency first began investigating reports of asbestos in talcum powder products, during which time it tested 50 such products and confirmed the presence of asbestos in some. One of those examinations in October 2019 revealed the presence of asbestos fibers in a lot of Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder, which caused the company to voluntarily recall 33,000 bottles of the iconic product.

Specifically, the IWGAC recommends adopting the term elongate mineral particles (EMP) to be “any mineral particle with a minimum aspect ratio of 3:1,” as to resolve ambiguity and disagreement of asbestos vs non-asbestos identification. Testing laboratories report all EMP having a length of over 500 nm and that testing methods specify reportable EMP identified as certain types of asbestos.

Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky recently appeared in a New Brunswick, New Jersey courtroom to testify in a talcum powder asbestos cancer lawsuit brought by four plaintiffs who claim they developed a serious form of cancer from years of using one of the company’s most iconic products. The talcum powder lawsuit alleges that the plaintiffs developed mesothelioma as a result of asbestos exposure from using Johnson & Johnson products like Baby Powder and Shower to Shower while the pharmaceutical and cosmetics giant knew about the risk posed to consumers but chose not to provide any safety warnings on the products.

During his testimony, Gorsky indicated that he relied on company experts when he announced on national television that Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder does not contain asbestos and was safe for consumers to use. Despite Gorsky claiming that he did not have firsthand knowledge of the science behind Baby Powder risks, revelations have surfaced in recent months that the company knew for decades about possible risks and that the company still chose to market its products to vulnerable and marginalized communities.

Furthermore, Johnson & Johnson was forced to issue a recall of 33,000 bottles of Baby Powder after independent testing conducted on behalf of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) discovered the presence of asbestos fibers in the product lot. Those tests have since spurred Congressional oversight committees to call for standardized testing methods and terminology to dispel ambiguity about how results are interpreted and ensure the public at large is protected from products containing deadly asbestos.

A recent study conducted by an international team of pathologists has reportedly identified a new protein which is often found in the tumor cells of patients diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of lung cancer which commonly affects the thin lining of tissue surrounding the lungs. With the discovery, researchers hope that doctors can make a more accurate prognosis for their patients and craft more effective and targeted treatment options to help these individuals live longer, more comfortable lives.

Published in The Journal of Pathology, the study found that the presence of protein CD70 correlates with a worse prognosis in patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma through immune evasion and enhanced invasiveness. The study was led by researchers at Aichi Medical University School of Medicine in Nagakute, Japan, with contributions from doctors based in the U.S., Poland, and Germany.

In the paper, the authors determined that about 20% of the mesothelioma tumor cells examined showed high levels of the CD70 protein, which resulted in a median survival of only six and a half months compared to a survival rate of a year and a half for patients without the over expression of the protein. Researchers believe these findings may explain the significant differences in survival periods between patients with the disease. The same protein has been studied in other serious forms of cancer, including certain types of kidney cancers and brain cancers.

A group of Wisconsin prison inmates recently filed a lawsuit over allegations the plaintiffs are suffering asbestos exposure almost daily due to the facility and state’s negligent management of the institution. According to the federal asbestos lawsuit, 10 inmates at the Prairie du Chien Correctional Institution say the prison is exposing inmates and workers to dangerous levels of black mold, asbestos, and lead-contaminated water.

Filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, the asbestos lawsuit claims the prisoner-plaintiffs suffered continuous exposure to asbestos and asbestos-related materials such as lead, lead filings, radium, and rust particles in the prison’s water supply. The lawsuit further claims that the plaintiffs suffered arbitrary denial of access to sanitary cleaning supplies to prevent the spread of disease and bacteria.

The suit seeks about $5 million in damages, as well as an emergency investigation and testing of all buildings at the prison, and evacuation of all inmates and staff from the facility. The latter demand for emergency transfers to minimum-security correctional facilities comes in the form of a preliminary injunction and restraining order filed by the inmates. It is unclear if the group has outside legal counsel in the asbestos cancer lawsuit.

The House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Reform recently held a hearing examining health risks related to the use of talcum powder products containing asbestos, as well as the detection methods used to keep the public safe. The hearing comes on the heels of news that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced had detected asbestos in one lot of pharmaceutical and cosmetics giant Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder and that the company would voluntarily recall 33,000 bottles of the product.

Johnson & Johnson currently faces an estimated 15,000 talcum powder asbestos cancer lawsuits across the country brought by plaintiffs claiming their serious medical conditions, including various forms of cancer, were caused by decades of using Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder. Many of those lawsuits allege the plaintiffs developed mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of cancer directly linked with exposure to microscopic asbestos fibers.

While talc itself does not contain asbestos, the two are both naturally occurring minerals which can often be found side by side one another, creating the possibility of cross contamination if precautions are not taken to protect innocent consumers. Despite federal laws requiring talc products to be asbestos-free, strong evidence exists that Johnson & Johnson continued to produce talc-based products that tested positive for asbestos.

When patients are diagnosed with a debilitating disease such as cancer, their focus often immediately shifts towards whether or not they will require surgery to treat the disease and what, if any, are the least invasive and most effective treatment options. Some forms of cancer can be treated without surgery, using radiation or chemotherapy, if caught in the early stages, while others leave patients with limited treatment options that may leave surgery as the only course of action.

A recent European study compared surgical treatments in patients diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of cancer affecting the thin lining of tissue surrounding the lungs. The researchers compared data of two types of treatments performed from 1999 through 2018, pleurectomy/decortication (P/D) and extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP) to see if patients fared better with one treatment over the other in terms of survival.

Mesothelioma has a particularly long latency period, which is the time between exposure to a carcinogen and when a diagnosis is actually made. The disease’s latency period can be anywhere from 20 years to 50 years, which can leave patients with especially limited treatment options and make surgery the only treatment available to prolong the individual’s lifespan.

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