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Articles Posted in Mesothelioma Attorney

A proposed piece of legislation recently introduced in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives purports to give relief to mesothelioma cancer victims who developed their disease through the course of their employment. The proposed law, House Bill 1234, would amend The Pennsylvania Occupational Disease Act (Act) to allow mesothelioma cancer victims to file for workers’ compensation claim.  The result, however, would arguably preclude mesothelioma victims common law claims against his employer making workers’ compensation the “exclusive remedy” barring the victims day in court.

As the law currently stands in the state of Pennsylvania, workers who develop an occupational disease as a result of their employment must do so within 300 weeks of their last workplace exposure or date of employment. Those who become aware of or receive their occupational disease diagnosis outside the 300-week statute of limitations are generally barred from receiving workers’ compensation benefits.  The Pennsylvania Supreme Court in Tooey v. AK Steel Corp., 623 Pa. 60 (2013) recognized that mesothelioma victims would have no remedy under the Act and held that the exclusivity provision does not preclude a plaintiff’s common law claims.

Unfortunately for those exposed to some carcinogens, their life-changing diagnosis is not received until many years after their last exposure due to the latency period associated with their condition. This is especially true for those who suffer from mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos fibers in once common, everyday industrial and military applications.

June 29, 2019 – Announcing the selection of Michael Throneberry among America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators® for 2019.  Selection to America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators® is by invitation only and is reserved to identify the nation’s most exceptional trial attorneys in high value, high stakes legal matters.

To be considered for selection, an attorney must have litigated (for either plaintiff or defendant) a matter (1) with at least $2,000,000 in alleged damages at stake or (2) with the fate of a business worth at least $2,000,000 at stake. These minimum qualifications are required for initial consideration.  Thereafter, candidates are carefully screened through comprehensive Qualitative Comparative Analysis based on a broad array of criteria, including the candidate’s professional experience, litigation experience, significant case results, representative high stakes matters, peer reputation, and community impact in order to rank the candidates throughout the state.

Only the top 100 qualifying attorneys in each state will receive this honor and be selected for membership among America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators®.  With these extremely high standards for selection to America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators®, less than one-half percent (0.5%) of active attorneys in the United States will receive this honor — truly the most exclusive and elite level of attorneys in the community.

A Delaware federal judge recently denied a request by pharmaceutical and cosmetics giant Johnson & Johnson to remove thousands of asbestos cancer lawsuits from various state courts and place them all under the purview of a single jurisdiction. Johnson & Johnson made the request after its co-defendant and talc supplier in the lawsuits, Imerys Talc USA, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection under the weight of the litigation the two companies faced.

Johnson & Johnson had sought to invoke legal protections afforded to Imerys as a means to collect the estimated 2,400 talcum powder lawsuits under one federal judge and form a single defense strategy. Those claims alleged that Johnson & Johnson and Imerys Talc USA were responsible for the plaintiffs’ injuries due to the presence of asbestos fibers about which the two defendants knew but failed to provide any warnings to consumers.

Fortunately for the plaintiffs, who have yet to have their day in court, the judge hearing the motion denied Johnson & Johnson’s request. In her ruling the judge noted that “J&J cannot establish an emergency” tied to Imerys’ bankruptcy-reorganization effort. The judge went on to note that “J&J’s desire to centralize its own state-law litigation does not justify the finding of an emergency” requiring immediate transfer.

Pharmaceutical and cosmetics giant Johnson & Johnson recently filed paperwork to have a Delaware federal judge consolidate thousands of talcum powder asbestos cancer lawsuits against one-time co-defendant Imerys Talc USA. If the judge were to grant the request, thousands of asbestos cancer lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson would be removed from state courts across the country where plaintiffs have accused Johnson & Johnson and its talc supplier Imerys Talc USA of knowingly producing and marketing a carcinogenic product without any warning to consumers.

Imerys Talc USA, Johnson & Johnson’s long-time talc supplier, recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection under the weight of thousands of talcum powder cancer lawsuits in which it was named co-defendant with Johnson & Johnson. While Johnson & Johnson has not filed for the same protections itself, the company seeks consolidation of Imerys cases through a special bankruptcy law provision which allows creditors with significant financial ties to the talc miner to make the request to promote “expeditious resolution of claims.”

Johnson & Johnson currently faces an estimated 13,000 talcum powder asbestos cancer lawsuits across the country, with over 10,000 consolidated in before a federal judge in New Jersey for pre-trial information exchanges. Were the pharmaceutical company to prevail in its motion before the Delaware judge, Johnson & Johnson would have effectively removed almost all of its claims from state courts where juries have handed down substantial plaintiffs verdicts.

A State of New York Appeals Court recently handed down an important ruling in an asbestos cancer lawsuit that will allow the injured plaintiff to proceed with his claim and possibly recover compensation for the injuries he suffered as a result of the defendant’s negligence. In its split decision, the appeals court allowed a lawsuit by a former merchant marine can not be thrown out based on a settlement he agreed to in the 1990s that was intended to exempt the employer from all future claims from the employee.

The lawsuit was originally brought against Chevron in in 2014 by a former employee after he developed mesothelioma, which the complaint alleged was induced by the victim’s exposure to asbestos while he served as a seaman in the Merchant Marine for nearly four decades. The plaintiff subsequently passed away from complications with the disease in 2015 but the victim’s wife took over as the plaintiff in the case.

Chevron had moved to resolve the case based on a release the victim signed in 1997 when he and approximately 100 other former workers were involved in another lawsuit against Texaco, which later merged with Chevron. The victim claimed he was exposed to asbestos fibers when he worked aboard Texaco ships during his career with the company and while he had not yet been diagnosed with mesothelioma, the settlement sought to release the company from any future liability.

As pharmaceutical and cosmetics giant Johnson & Johnson, Colgate-Palmolive, and their wholesale suppliers face a new slew of trials in 2019, New York City’s specialized asbestos court is expected to become a hotbed of litigation as plaintiffs accuse the company of causing their serious medical conditions to develop. Juries in the New York City Asbestos Litigation (NYCLAL) court handed down two plaintiffs verdicts against Johnson & Johnson in 2018 and the company reportedly settled a third case for $1.5 million.

Despite insisting that a substantial $4.7 billion plaintiffs verdict in an October 2018 in St, Louis was a “one off” case, Johnson & Johnson could be on the hook for millions, if not billions more, in compensation in NYCAL courts alone. The venue is known for plaintiff-friendly judges, juries, and evidentiary rules that produce plaintiffs verdicts and the compensation necessary to help victims and their families live comfortable, dignified lives.

In response to a series of articles about the dangers and liabilities of its talc-based products and upcoming trials concerning them, Johnson & Johnson released a statement saying “The decision to resolve any particular case in no way changes our overall position that our talc is safe, is asbestos free and does not cause cancer. We do not have any organized program to settle Johnson’s Baby Powder cases, nor are we planning a settlement program.”

An Arkansas federal jury recently handed down a substantial plaintiff’s verdict in an asbestos mesothelioma lawsuit filed by the family of a man who worked at a brake shop in Little Rock during the 1970s. The lawsuit named Honeywell International Inc., which years ago bought Allied Signal, a company that had acquired Bendix, which was one of the principal manufacturers of brake-shoe linings in the country.

According to the lawsuit, filed in U.S. Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, the plaintiff developed mesothelioma in late 2017 from years of exposure to asbestos while working as an auto mechanic installing brake shoes. Court records show that the plaintiffs claimed the victim worked at Stuart’s Brake Shop in Little Rock and North Little Rock from 1971 until 1983, frequently performing up to one dozen brake jobs a day.

The plaintiff passed away a short time after his mesothelioma diagnosis, and his family has continued with the lawsuit on behalf of his estate along with the help of their mesothelioma lawyers. In ruling on behalf of the plaintiff, the jurors awarded the victim’s estate $216,000 for loss of life, $5 million for his pain and suffering and $341,979 for his medical expenses. The bulk of the recovery came from an additional $1 million the jury awarded to each of the victim’s children and additional $10 million in punitive damages.

A New York state appeals court recently heard arguments in a case brought by a plaintiff who claims he developed mesothelioma cancer after he signed a settlement release with the company he accused of causing his mesothelioma cancer by exposure to asbestos. The New York Court of Appeals will decide whether part of the Federal Employer’s Liability Act negates a settlement release signed by the plaintiff in the case nearly two-decades ago and allow his claim against his previous employer to move forward.

The plaintiff in the case originally brought his asbestos lawsuit against Texaco in 2014, claiming he developed mesothelioma cancer while he served as a seaman in the Merchant Marine for nearly 40 years. The plaintiff had filed a previous lawsuit against Texaco, along with more than 100 other individuals, in federal court during the 1990s over a pulmonary injury suffered from exposure to asbestos and second-hand smoke on merchant ships.

Texaco and the plaintiff resolved the first claim, with the plaintiff and other co-plaintiffs signing settlement releases which sought to discharge the company from any future liability over the health effects of asbestos exposure. The settlement release read in part the plaintiff “understands that the long term effects of exposure to asbestos … may result in obtaining a new and different diagnosis from the diagnosis as of the date of this release.”

A New York judge recently ordered pharmaceutical and cosmetics giant Johnson & Johnson to stand trial in an asbestos cancer lawsuit brought by a plaintiff who claims he developed an aggressive form of cancer due to carcinogenic materials contained in products manufactured by the defendant. Johnson & Johnson had filed a motion for summary judgement, seeking to have the case thrown out of court and avoid any liability for knowingly manufacturing deadly products without warning consumers about the risks.

According to the asbestos cancer lawsuit, filed in the Supreme Court of New York County, the plaintiff developed pleural mesothelioma at the age of 76 after decades of using Baby Powder and other talc-based products developed and sold by Johnson & Johnson. The plaintiff claims she did not suffer from any industrial asbestos exposure at her work place and that the only possible source for the exposure came from the carcinogenic asbestos in the talcum powders she used.

Although talc, a naturally occurring mineral, does not contain asbestos fibers itself, the two are often found in deposits side by side one another, which can cause a risk of contamination if certain precautions are not taken. Asbestos itself has been heavily regulated since the 1970s when the federal government enacted legislation to protect the public from the known risks of asbestos exposure. However, even before regulators stepped in, many companies were fully aware of the risks their products posed and continued to manufacture dangerously designed and defective materials.

Announcing the selection of Michael Throneberry among America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators® for 2018. Selection to America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators® is by invitation only and is reserved to identify the nation’s most exceptional trial attorneys in high value, high stakes legal matters.

To be considered for selection, an attorney must have litigated (for either plaintiff or defendant) a matter (1) with at least $2,000,000 in alleged damages at stake or (2) with the fate of a business worth at least $2,000,000 at stake. These minimum qualifications are required for initial consideration. Thereafter, candidates are carefully screened through comprehensive Qualitative Comparative Analysis based on a broad array of criteria, including the candidate’s professional experience, litigation experience, significant case results, representative high stakes matters, peer reputation, and community impact in order to rank the candidates throughout the state.

Only the top 100 qualifying attorneys in each state will receive this honor and be selected for membership among America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators®. With these extremely high standards for selection to America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators®, less than one-half percent (0.5%) of active attorneys in the United States will receive this honor — truly the most exclusive and elite level of attorneys in the community.

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