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Articles Posted in Talcum Powder and Cancer

A New York state court recently issued an important ruling in an asbestos cancer lawsuit preventing one of the defendants from attempting to have itself removed from the case and potentially escape liability for its role in the victim’s cancer diagnosis. With the court’s ruling, defendant retailer Lot Less will remain as a defendant to the case while the plaintiff proceeds with the information gathering phase of the litigation in order to establish exactly what the business knew about the safety of the products it sold to consumers like the victim in this case.

According to the mesothelioma cancer lawsuit, filed in the Supreme Court of New York County in 2018, the now deceased plaintiff developed malignant mesothelioma cancer from years of using Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder, which was contaminated with deadly asbestos fibers. The plaintiff contends that not only Johnson & Johnson should be held liable for manufacturing the carcinogenic talc-based product, but also retailer Lot Less for selling the product to consumers like the victim. Other defendants named in the case included Bristol-Meyers Squibb, Cyprus Amax Minerals Company, and Whittaker Clark & Daniels.

In its motion for summary judgment, Lot Less argued that the family of the victim, who brought the suit on her behalf, had not yet proven that the Johnson & Johnson product in question actually contained asbestos. Further, the company argued that sellers of defective products generally have an implied right to indemnification, that is that they cannot be held liable for legally selling a product that a manufacturer produced. Fortunately for the plaintiff, the judge hearing the case determined that it would be premature to remove Lot Less from the case since the underlying liability had not yet been established.

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.

Pharmaceutical and cosmetics giant Johnson & Johnson recently challenged the bankruptcy plan of its long-time talc supplier, Imerys Talc USA, asserting that the defunct American subsidiary’s plan to create a liability trust related to talcum powder asbestos cancer lawsuits is a way to immunize its French parent company. Imerys Talc USA was once embroiled in 14,000 asbestos cancer lawsuits with Johnson & Johnson brought by consumers and surviving family members who claim that they or their deceased loved ones developed serious forms of cancer, including mesothelioma, from years of using consumer cosmetics products such as Baby Powder and Shower to Shower.

Johnson & Johnson currently faces an estimated 22,000 talcum powder asbestos cancer lawsuits in state and federal courts across the country, and therefore has a keen interest to oppose the bankruptcy plan under review. In November 2020, French parent company Imerys SA sold all of its North American holdings at auction to Canadian company Magris for $223 million, which will be placed into a liability trust for victims to draw compensation from and spare the French company any more legal trouble over the same or similar claims.

Plaintiffs claimed that Johnson & Johnson knew for decades that the talc sourced and mined by Imerys USA to create its iconic Baby Powder contained asbestos, a known carcinogen directly linked to developing mesothelioma cancer. Mesothelioma commonly affects thin linings of tissue surrounding vital organs such as the lungs and heart, as well as the abdominal cavity, before spreading to other parts of the body. Lawsuits filed across the country have been based on documentation of internal company memos showing that Johnson & Johnson was aware of the risk of asbestos contamination in its talc but chose not to provide any warning to consumers.

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.

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.

A New York court recently denied an attempt by the defendant in a talcum powder mesothelioma cancer lawsuit to have the case dismissed, which paves the way for the plaintiffs to have their day in court and seek justice for the harm caused by the defendant’s alleged negligence. In its ruling, the court denied defendant Whittaker Clark and Daniels’ motion for summary judgement to dismiss the claim, as well as denying the company’s bid to have claims of potential punitive damages thrown out.

According to the plaintiff’s mesothelioma cancer lawsuit, filed in New York County Supreme Court, the victim developed mesothelioma for exposure to asbestos fibers in talcum powder products manufactured by defendant Whittaker Clark and Daniels. The plaintiff claimed that during his time working as a barber in New York City from 1961 until he retired in 2016, he frequently breathed in talcum powder dust from the Clubman talc he applied to clients, which he alleges the defendant knowingly manufactured with asbestos fibers.

In its motion to dismiss the case, the defendant alleged that the plaintiff’s mesothelioma diagnosis was not caused by exposure to talc in Whittaker Clark and Daniels’ Clubman talcum powder, but instead by exposure to asbestos in the victim’s native Italy where he lived until he was 25 years old until he immigrated to the United States. Specifically, the defendants claimed that the victim was exposed to asbestos in quarries found in Sicily, Italy. Countering that argument, the plaintiff’s lawyers contended that the victim lived almost 15 miles from the sites in question.

A New Jersey federal judge recently handed down an order indicating that the court will randomly select 1,000 talcum powder asbestos cancer lawsuits to proceed as bellwether trials for the estimated 16,000 total of such cases currently pending before federal courts. The order comes just a few months after the same judge handed down an important ruling which allowed the plaintiffs’ expert witnesses to present evidence at trial showing that defendant Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based products caused the victims’ cancers.

Per the judge’s order, the plaintiffs in the selected cases will have three months to order and produce medical records related to their cancer diagnoses. Further, the records produced must be served to the defendants within that same 90-day period.

The lawsuits accuse pharmaceutical and cosmetics giant Johnson & Johnson of knowingly manufacturing and selling asbestos-contaminated talcum powder products to consumers without any warnings about the health effects of using the products. Such talcum powder products include Johnson & Johnson’s iconic Baby Powder and Shower to Shower. Until recently, Johnson & Johnson’s longtime talc supplier Imerys Talc USA was named to many of the lawsuits but the company has since filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

A New York-based minerals and chemical company recently agreed to a settlement during jury deliberations in a Florida state court to resolve an industrial talc mesothelioma cancer lawsuit. While the settlement terms between Vanderbilt Minerals, Inc. and the plaintiffs was not disclosed, the plaintiffs’ mesothelioma cancer lawsuit had asked for $11.5 million in total compensation, making the settlement likely in the millions of dollars.

According to the mesothelioma cancer lawsuit, filed in Polk County court, the plaintiff worked for the Florida Tile Company during the 1970s, during which time he claims he used asbestos-laden products produced by Vanderbilt Minerals, Inc. The lawsuit claimed that Vanderbilt Minerals, Inc. knew about the risks of asbestos exposure from the talc it used in its products but provided no warning to workers about these risks.

The plaintiff alleged that Vanderbilt Mineral, Inc.’s talc came sourced from a mine that had been proven to contain asbestos and that the company manufactured and sold these products to Florida Tile Company during his tenure. Both talc and asbestos are naturally occurring minerals that can be found in deposits side by side one another. If talc sourcing companies or those processing the mineral do not take precautions to test for asbestos contamination, innocent consumers may suffer from serious health conditions from exposure to the carcinogen.

A Missouri appeals court recently upheld an important talcum powder asbestos cancer lawsuit brought by almost two dozen plaintiffs who claim their or their loved one’s disease was directly caused by years of using carcinogenic cosmetics products. In its decisions, the Missouri Court of Appeals disagreed with defendant Johnson & Johnson’s defense that its products were safe for use by consumers, and that its iconic Baby Powder has been asbestos-free for decades.

“This trial showed clear and convincing evidence that defendants engaged in conduct that was outrageous because of evil motive or reckless indifference,” the Missouri Court of Appeals wrote. “Motivated by profits, defendants disregarded the safety of consumers, despite the knowledge that talc in their products caused ovarian cancer.”

Johnson & Johnson had brought the appeal to contest a 2018 trial court verdict in which the jury handed down a then-record breaking $4.64 billion verdict on behalf of the 22 plaintiffs who claimed the company knowingly marketed a dangerous product. Johnson & Johnson, in its appeal, had asserted that the plaintiffs failed to present substantial enough evidence to show that the company acted with the level of negligence necessary to justify such a monumental verdict.

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