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Johnson and Johnson Talcum Powder Lawsuit: Trial news and updates

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• December 5, 2018

Health Canada has determined talcum powder might be harmful to human health

After an investigation, Health Canada has determined that talcum powder— a common ingredient in baby powder, some cosmetics and household products — might be harmful to human health. In an announcement dated December 5, 2018, Health Canada said that it was considering measures to restrict the use of talc in cosmetics, natural health products and non-prescription drugs.

The Canadian government is now warning that using products containing talc in the female genital area, like baby powder, is a possible cause of ovarian cancer. natural health products and non-prescription drugs.

This Health Canada assessment is a draft and is currently open for public comments. The government is working on a final assessment. If Health Canada confirms its conclusion, it will consider restricting talc’s use. It is recommended that Canadians who are concerned about using talc should check their products’ ingredients and avoid using talc in the female genital area. natural health products and non-prescription drugs.

This appears to be the first time that a Government agency has recognized the possible link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer. Juries in the United States have repeatedly found a link and have ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay billions of dollars in damages in a number of lawsuits. natural health products and non-prescription drugs.

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Health Canada

• October 11, 2018

Talcum Powder Lawsuit News! Johnson & Johnson Not Liable in NJ Talc Mesothelioma Lawsuit

Less than a year after a jury in the same courtroom handed down a $117-million verdict against consumer-goods giant Johnson & Johnson over claims that its talcum-powder products contain asbestos that caused the plaintiff’s mesothelioma, a New Brunswick, New Jersey jury on October 11 found the defendant company not liable on similar claims.

Following a four-week trial, it took jurors less than two hours of deliberations to find that talcum-powder products manufactured and distributed by Johnson & Johnson were not a substantial cause of plaintiff Rosalind Henry’s mesothelioma.

While on the surface the divergent results in the two trials, which took place in the same New Jersey courtroom within months of one another, may appear contradictory, the facts of the two cases contained several key differences. For example, in the instant case, plaintiff Rosalind Henry and her husband entered into a settlement agreement with Colgate Palmolive prior to the trial against Johnson & Johnson, as the plaintiff has conceded that she used Colgate talcum-powder products for decades, while only using Johnson & Johnson talcum-powder products for a period of a years. Also, as an attorney for the defense reminded jurors during closing remarks, Henry previously had worked for a company that cleaned naval vessels, an occupation that would have exposed her to asbestos, as well. (J&J continues to adamantly deny that any of its talcum-powder products contain asbestos fibers.)

Ultimately, it appears that jurors were left with enough questions about the causal connection between Henry’s use of J&J talc-based products and her mesothelioma that they were forced to return a verdict of not liable.

Attorneys for both sides declined to comment following the verdict, Law 360 reported .

Stay tuned to TheLawFirm.com for the latest legal developments involving Johnson & Johnson talcum-powder products!

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Law 360

• October 10, 2018

Talcum Powder Lawsuit Update: NJ Jury Hears Plaintiffs’ Closing Arguments in J&J Talc Mesothelioma Lawsuit

With the four-week trial coming to a close, on October 10, jurors heard closing arguments from both sides in a New Jersey state-law case brought by a woman who alleges Johnson & Johnson talcum-powder products contain asbestos that caused her to develop the deadly cancer mesothelioma.

Mirroring accusations made in similar cases and throughout the trial, in his closing statement, an attorney for the plaintiff claimed that Johnson & Johnson had been aware of the presence of asbestos in its talc-based products for decades, but, rather than warn consumers and pull its products from shelves, the company instead actively covered up the truth and continues to do so to this day.

Meanwhile, a lawyer representing Johnson & Johnson sought to cast aspersions on the plaintiffs’ claims, continuing the company’s policy of flatly denying the presence of asbestos fibers in any of its talcum-powder products while attempting to paint the plaintiffs and their legal counsel as “people coming in here and trying to scam people for money,” Law360 reported.

Rosalind Henry, who, along with her husband, brought the suit in 2017 after responding to a law firm’s television ad, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in November 2016 following decades of regular use of talc-based products. The couple are represented by attorney Christopher Swett, who has cited internal company documents he says prove the consumer-goods and pharmaceutical giant has known for years that asbestos fibers were present in its talc-based products.

As an example, in his closing argument, Swett reminded jurors of internal Johnson & Johnson documents in which J&J employees deliberated over just how much asbestos a human baby could inhale without suffering negative health effects. The discussion followed the discovery of asbestos fibers at a talc mine in Vermont that served as a talc supplier for Johnson & Johnson.

“Why was J&J trying to determine how much asbestos a baby could breathe if there was no asbestos in the baby powder?" Swett told the jury, according to Law 360 "Common sense tells us that Johnson & Johnson knew it the whole time. They just concealed it."

An attorney for Johnson & Johnson, meanwhile, engaged in a variety of tactics aimed at raising doubts about the alleged connection between Rosalind Henry’s mesothelioma and her use of Johnson & Johnson talcum-powder products. Lawyer Diane Sullivan, representing the defendant company, told jurors in her closing remarks that the plaintiff had, in fact, used talc products manufactured and sold by Colgate Palmolive for nearly four decades, compared to less than ten years for J&J talc products. (The plaintiffs settled with Colgate Palmolive prior to trial.) Sullivan also told jurors that Ms. Henry had been exposed to asbestos when she had been employed cleaning naval vessels, again seeking to obscure the link between her disease and J&J products.

The case now will go to the jury for deliberations.

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Law 360

• October 9, 2018

Talcum Powder Lawsuit Update: Johnson & Johnson Expert Tells Jury Asbestos Mesothelioma Link Less Strong in Women

As consumer-goods giant Johnson & Johnson seeks to fend off yet another lawsuit alleging that its talcum-powder products caused a consumer’s cancer, an expert witness testifying on the company’s behalf told a jury on October 3 that the link between mesothelioma and asbestos exposure is not nearly as strong in women as it is in men, citing medical studies. The testimony, intended to weaken the female plaintiff’s case in the eyes of the jury, came in the third week of a trial taking place in the same New Brunswick, New Jersey courtroom where less than a year ago a jury awarded plaintiffs Stephen Lanzo III and his wife over $100 million in damages over similar claims that J&J talc-based products contain asbestos fibers that caused Lanzo’s mesothelioma.

Professor Gregory Diette of Johns Hopkins University, who specializes in lung disease, said that while data shows the rates of mesothelioma—a rare and particularly painful and deadly form of cancer—bore a close correlation to asbestos exposure in American men, the same relationship did not hold true for American women. According to Diette, one study showed that over three-quarters (77%) of pleural (lung-based) mesothelioma cases in female patients had not been the product of asbestos exposure. By comparison, around 90 percent of pleural mesothelioma cases in males had been associated with exposure to asbestos fibers.

“It’s been true for men in America for many many years; it’s not true for women,” Diette testified as to the link between asbestos and mesothelioma, according to Law 360.

Diette’s assurances as to the unlikeliness of a woman’s developing mesothelioma through asbestos exposure would seem to contradict a $5 billion judgment against Johnson & Johnson earlier this year in which a St. Louis-based jury found the company and its talc-supplier Imerys liable for the ovarian cancer or mesothelioma of nearly two dozen female plaintiffs.

Going beyond gender-based data, Johnson & Johnson’s expert witness Diette made specific reference to plaintiff Rosalind Henry’s CAT scan, which Diette claimed did not bare the trademark characteristics of asbestos exposure. When asbestos attacks the lungs, Diette asserted, it leaves behind identifiable scar-tissue formations known as pleural plaques, which Diette said were not present in Henry’s CAT scan. Plaintiffs Rosalind Henry and her husband allege that Henry contracted her mesothelioma after years of using Johnson’s Baby Powder on her children, amidst decades of personal use. Mirroring arguments put forth by similarly situated, and ultimately successful, litigants, the plaintiffs contend that Johnson & Johnson has been aware for decades that its talc-based products contain dangerous asbestos fibers but, rather than warning consumers, have chosen to conceal the evidence and deny culpability, despite a growing number of losses in court.

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Law 360

Law 360

• October 7, 2018

Talcum Powder Lawsuit Update: Claims Against RiteAid Over Talc Cancer Connection Nonfrivolous, Judge Rules

Pennsylvania state law claims seeking to hold drugstore chain Rite Aid liable for selling Johnson & Johnson talcum-powder products that allegedly cause cancer are nonfrivolous, the judge overseeing federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) over J&J talc declared October 3, Law360 has reported.

In a ruling that remanded the case from federal court back to state court, a move that was contested by attorneys for defendant Johnson & Johnson, Judge Freda L. Wolfson noted that retailers in Pennsylvania are subject to a standard of strict liability when it comes to selling dangerous products, meaning that the seller need not be aware of the dangerous nature of the product in order to be held responsible for the harms it causes.

The case involves allegations that plaintiff Bernadine Moore developed ovarian cancer as a result of regular, long-term use of Johnson & Johnson talcum-powder products including Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower brand products. Attorneys for Johnson & Johnson had argued that Moore had included Rite Aid—legally, a Pennsylvania resident—as a defendant in the case merely as a legal tactic aimed at having the case removed from the federal MDL taking place in New Jersey. Judge Wolfson disagreed.

"On the face of the complaint, I cannot find any indicia of fraudulent joinder for the purpose of destroying diversity," Judge Wolfson said, according to Law360, addressing J&J’s contention that Rite Aid had been included as a defendant merely to destroy the diversity jurisdiction that had landed the case in federal court. To the contrary, according to Judge Wolfson, "Plaintiff's allegations show an actual intention to proceed against Rite Aid."

In support of her ruling, Judge Wolfson cited the recent Pennsylvania state court case Kleiner v. Rite Aid, which she said involved very similar allegations against the same defendants. In that case, the court found that Rite Aid could be held liable under such claims.

The suits against Rite Aid represent the opening of a new front in the legal battle over claims that Johnson & Johnson talcum-powder products cause various forms of cancer, including ovarian cancer and mesothelioma. Johnson & Johnson and its talc supplier Imerys already have been found liable for plaintiffs’ cancer in multiple cases, including an approximately $5 billion judgment in a St. Louis Circuit Court case involving 22 plaintiffs.

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Law 360

• September 28, 2018

Talcum Powder Lawsuit Update: Mistrial Declared in CA Talc Trial After Jury Deadlocked

Following a week of ultimately fruitless jury deliberations, a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge has declared a mistrial in the case of a woman and her spouse who sued Johnson & Johnson and its talc supplier alleging that the company’s popular talcum-powder products contain asbestos, which caused her to develop the deadly cancer mesothelioma.

Announcing the mistrial in her Pasadena courtroom on September 23, Judge Margaret Oldendorf concluded that there was no amount of additional information as to available evidence or points of law that could assist the jurors in resolving their impasse.

"The court and the parties are not in the position to supply additional evidence that is not in the record, rulings have been made, evidence has been offered, it is what it is,” Judge Oldendorf said, according to Law360. “I did not hear any of you [jurors] indicate there was any confusion or misunderstanding on a particular point of law. I believe that the evidence is in and regrettably I’m going to declare that the jury is deadlocked and declare a mistrial in the case."

Ultimately, the case appears to have hinged on one expert’s word versus another, with jurors failing to agree on which side presented the more credible evidence. Law360 has reported at least one juror as anonymously citing the weight and credibility of expert testimony as being a key point sticking point among the panel.

Expert testimony was of particular significance in the case, perhaps determinatively so, as the plaintiffs sought to prove that Johnson & Johnson talcum-powder products, such as Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower, contain asbestos fibers, which caused plaintiff Carolyn Weirick to develop mesothelioma following over four decades of near-daily use. Johnson & Johnson, meanwhile, sought to present evidence backing its continued adamant denials that its products contain asbestos, which is extremely closely associated with a form of mesothelioma that afflicts the lungs.

Weirick and her spouse Elvira Escudero had sought $29.2 million in compensatory damages for Weirick’s pain, suffering, and loss of an expected 25 years of life and for Escudero’s loss of Weirick’s companionship.

Johnson & Johnson expressed pleasure with the outcome in the instant case and confidence as to the slew of lawsuits it continues to face across the country alleging that the company’s talc-based products caused consumers to develop ovarian cancer or mesothelioma.

“We look forward to a new trial to present our defense, which rests on decades of independent, scientific testing confirming that J&J Baby Powder and Shower to Shower do not contain asbestos,” Johnson & Johnson said in a statement obtained by Law360.

Imerys, Johnson & Johnson’s talc supplier, previously had been a defendant in the case but reached a settlement agreement with the plaintiffs just hours before the jury began deliberations.

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Law 360

• September 24, 2018

Johnson and Johnson Talcum Powder Lawsuit Settlement Update: J&J Co-Defendant Settles in California Talc Lawsuit

Just hours before the beginning of jury deliberations, Imerys Talc America, talc supplier to Johnson & Johnson, entered into a settlement agreement with a California woman and her spouse, who sued the companies alleging that decades of regular use of Johnson’s Baby Powder and other talc-based products had given the woman mesothelioma. The agreement, the terms of which were not made public, will allow Imerys to exit the case prior to a verdict, though the jury still will be instructed to divvy up the blame, should it find any, between Imerys and Johnson & Johnson.

In the middle of closing remarks on Monday, September 16, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Margaret Oldendorf informed the jury that they would be receiving a new verdict form removing Imerys as a defendant. Though Imerys confirmed the settlement agreement, the company continued to deny publicly that there are any health risks associated with its talc.

“Talc’s safe use has been confirmed by several regulatory and scientific bodies, including the FDA, and dozens of peer-reviewed studies, including multiple real-world studies examining talc miners and millers," read a statement issued by Imerys, according to Law360. "This data overwhelmingly confirms the safety of talc and determines that inhaling talc does not increase risk for mesothelioma."

The California state case was brought by plaintiff Carolyn Weirick and her spouse Elvira Escudero alleging that the talc used in Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower products contained asbestos, which caused Weirick to develop mesothelioma following decades of near-daily exposure.

In closing remarks, an attorney for the plaintiffs told the jury that the couple deserved $29.2 million in compensatory damages, while suggesting that the companies also should be liable for punitive damages given their level of misconduct.

Stay tuned to TheLawFirm.com for the latest developments in Johnson & Johnson talcum powder litigation!

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Law 360

• September 24, 2018

Johnson and Johnson Talcum Powder Lawsuit Update: California Jury Hears Closing Arguments in Johnson & Johnson Talc Mesothelioma Trial

As court proceedings neared the end of their fourth week, jurors heard closing statements in the Southern California trial of a woman and her wife who sued Johnson & Johnson and its talc supplier for allegedly causing the woman’s mesothelioma, a particularly painful and deadly form of lung cancer. Echoing arguments made throughout the trial, on September 13, 2018, an attorney for the plaintiffs emphasized the breach of trust Johnson & Johnson had committed by allegedly knowingly selling talcum-powder products that contained the dangerous substance asbestos, while legal counsel for the company rebutted the claims by saying the plaintiffs lacked sufficient evidence to prove their allegations.

In his closing remarks, Jay Steumke, representing the plaintiffs, pointed to evidence presented by electron microscopy expert William Longo, who testified before the jury in August that he had identified asbestos fibers in a bottle of Johnson’s Baby Powder purchased and later saved by plaintiff Carolyn Weirick. Though the nearly empty bottle Longo was provided contained only 0.02028 milligrams of material, using what he described as scientifically accepted extrapolation methods, Longo determined that the bottle, when full, contained roughly 6.5 million asbestos fibers. Steumke told jurors that Weirick had used roughly four bottles of Johnson & Johnson talcum powder products per year for over four decades, not including the times that Weirick’s mother had used Johnson’s Baby Powder on her as a child.

Steumke told jurors that, as a result of the mesothelioma, Weirick will lose approximately 25 years of life expectancy, which would have included her being able to see her three children grow older. Weirick’s wife Elvira Escudero also has sued for loss of companionship.

In all, Steumke argued that the women deserved $29.2 million in compensatory damages, not including punitive damages. The compensatory damages to which Steumke says his clients are entitled include $25 million in past and future pain and suffering from Weirick, $1.2 million in economic losses, and $3 million for Weirick’s spouse Escudero for loss of companionship.

Throughout the trial, attorneys for Johnson & Johnson have sought to undermine evidence that the company’s talcum powder products contain asbestos, dismissing the testimony of expert witnesses such as Longo as “courtroom science”.

“It’s about science conducted in the real world for the last sixty years,” Christopher Vejnoska, a lawyer representing Johnson & Johnson, told the jury, according to Law360. “It’s not about data conjured in courtroom [sic.], like magic, over the last three or four weeks ... It’s not about a few, litigation based, litigation focused, well paid experts testifying for the other side."

The case is expected to go to the jury after attorneys for Johnson & Johnson’s talc supplier Imerys give their closing remarks.

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Law 360

• August 27, 2018

Talcum Powder Lawsuit News: Johnson and Johnson Talc Warning Label to Case to Remain in Federal Court, Judge Rules

“On Thursday, August 22, 2018, a federal district court judge ruled against plaintiffs seeking to have their case against consumer-goods giant Johnson & Johnson moved back to California state court, reportedly commenting that he had “no doubt” but that the case fell under federal jurisdiction. The plaintiffs in the suit are seven women who have sued Johnson & Johnson over the presence of asbestos fibers in its talcum-powder products, saying the company has violated California laws governing false advertising and warning-label requirements.

While a growing number of plaintiffs across the United States have successfully sued Johnson & Johnson for billions of dollars over allegations that decades of exposure to the company’s talcum-powder products caused them to develop ovarian cancer and mesothelioma, the state false-advertising and warning-label claims represent a novel legal approach to holding the consumer-goods giant accountable for continuing to market and sell to an unsuspecting public products it knew to be unsafe.

Although the plaintiffs originally brought their suit in California state court, Johnson & Johnson managed to have the case removed to federal court in May 2018 after lawyers for the company successfully argued that the lawsuit met the qualifications for the federal venue, including that the plaintiffs and the defendant were citizens of different states and that the monetary value involved exceeded the $75,000 minimum threshold for federal cases.

In his August 22 ruling, US District Court Judge George H. Wu agreed, despite arguments from the plaintiffs that the case belonged in state court because the real party of interest is the State of California. Though acknowledging that the argument may have some merit, Judge Wu said it went against the established precedent of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals as well as the US Supreme Court.

Judge Wu labeled such considerations “above my pay level,” while noting, “I don’t think this is a subject where I think district judges should be pontificating,” according to Law360.

Specifically, the women have sued J&J under a trio of California state laws, including the False Advertising Law, the Unfair Competition Law, and Proposition 65. The plaintiffs are seeking a ruling forcing J&J to place labels on its talc-based products warning consumers about the presence of asbestos, which is highly associated with mesothelioma, an especially deadly form of cancer. The plaintiffs also want the court to impose a $2,500 per day fine on the company for each day it has been in violation of the warning-label requirement.

Also known as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, Proposition 65 was passed into law by California voters in November 1986. According to California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), “The proposition protects the state's drinking water sources from being contaminated with chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm, and requires businesses to inform Californians about exposures to such chemicals.”

Stay tuned to TheLawFirm.com for the latest news on the legal fallout facing Johnson & Johnson over its talcum powder products!

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Law 360

• August 23, 2018

Talcum Powder Lawsuit Update: Internal Docs Crucial to Plaintiffs Johnson and Johnson Talc Win and Future Cases

“They could not get away from…their own words,” Moshe Maimon, one of the attorneys who represented plaintiff Stephen Lanzo III in his landmark victory against consumer-goods giant Johnson & Johnson, told Law360 in a piece published August 21, 2018.

Maimon was referencing the crucial role that internal documents from Johnson & Johnson and its talc supplier Imerys played in the $117 million award Lanzo and his wife received from a New Jersey jury earlier this year. Lanzo had claimed that asbestos contained in popular Johnson & Johnson talcum-powder products had caused him to develop the deadly form of cancer known as mesothelioma, and the jury agreed.

Lanzo’s case was followed up just months later by a multi-billion-dollar verdict in which a jury found that Johnson & Johnson were responsible for multiple female plaintiffs’ mesothelioma and lung cancer.

With the dust settling from the staggering sums of the recent jury verdicts, expert observers have begun to recognize the essential role the internal documents revealed during the Lanzo case had not only for that trial but for those that have followed and will continue to come.

According to the attorneys representing Lanzo, those documents were unknown to them until the defendant companies turned them over during the pre-trial discovery process. Contained within more than a million documents handed over by J&J and talc supplier Imerys was the story of a corporate coverup dating back nearly half a century.

Among the documents was a 1969 memorandum written by a Johnson & Johnson doctor, which discussed the need for alternative talc sources, citing concerns over the presence of asbestos and the potential litigation that could ensue therefrom.

Maimon also told Law360 of a 1974 document that similarly expressed grave concerns over the potential health hazards resulting from the presence of asbestos in talc.

“As far as I’m concerned, that’s the most important document that’s there,” Maimon said, according to Law360.

Not only were these documents crucial in convincing the Lanzo jury of J&J and Imerys’s culpability, the manner in which they were deployed by Lanzo’s legal team also established something of a roadmap for future plaintiffs, Jean Eggen, distinguished emeritus professor at Widener University Delaware Law School, told Law360.

Acknowledging the challenges facing plaintiffs in such cases, Eggen said that Lanzo’s attorneys had demonstrated what could potentially be a “winning strategy” in other cases, as well.

In a broader context, Lanzo’s case demonstrates the essential part consumer lawsuits play in bringing important information to light publicly.

“The thing about the case, the same thing about the legal system, is that it’s really the only mechanism by which these types of documents come out into the public,” Maimon told Law360. “If it weren’t...for this system, there’s no way anybody would know any of this.”

If you or a loved one has been injured by a dangerous consumer product, a defective medical device, or a problematic prescription medication, contact the experienced team of attorneys at TheLawFirm.com right away for a free legal consultation! It’s not just about getting justice for you and your family while holding wrongdoers to account; it’s also about exposing the truth to a public that deserves to know. The facts about the issues impacting their health!

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Law 360

• August 22, 2018

Talcum Powder Lawsuit Update: New Johnson and Johnson Talc Trial Begins in California

On the heals of eight- and nine-figure verdicts handed down by juries against consumer giant Johnson & Johnson over cancer allegedly caused by its talcum-powder products, on August 20, 2018, a new trial opened in California featuring a woman with mesothelioma who claims she developed the rare and particularly deadly form of cancer as a result of her use of J&J talc-based products.

Mirroring many of the claims put forward by plaintiffs in other cases, 58-year-old Carolyn Weirick accuses Johnson & Johnson of a decades-long coverup, with the company and its talc supplier actively concealing evidence that their products contained dangerous asbestos fibers, exposure to which is extremely closely linked to the development of mesothelioma.

In opening remarks delivered Monday, Weirick’s attorney Jay Stuemke told the jury that decades of daily use of Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower talc-based products had exposed her regularly to the dangerous substance, which ultimately led to her developing mesothelioma.

Stuemke also cited testing he says he had performed on a bottle of Johnson’s Baby Powder retained by Weirick, telling the jury that the single bottle had contained over 6 million asbestos fibers. Stuemke further accused the company of concealing such knowledge from consumers for decades, effectively placing corporate image and profits over the safety and well-being of its customers.

According to Stuemke, Weirick will lose 25 years of her expected lifespan due to the disease. Driving the point home, he showed the jury a photo of Weirick with her wife and three children.

Attorneys representing defendant Johnson & Johnson offered sympathy over Weirick’s condition but sought to assure the jury that there was absolutely no connection between Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based products and the plaintiff’s mesothelioma.

“It’s unfortunate, but sometimes cancer just happens, and that’s not an excuse, that’s science,” J&J attorney Christopher Vejnoska said in opening remarks for the defense, according to Law360.

Stay tuned to TheLawFirm.com for the latest developments involving Johnson & Johnson talcum-powder products!

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Law 360

• July 24, 2018

Talcum Powder Lawsuit News: California Woman Seeks to Reinstate $417 Million Talc Verdict

On Wednesday, July 18, 2018, a California woman filed a brief seeking to reinstate a $417 million verdict against Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. (JJCI) over allegations that the company’s talcum-powder products caused her mother’s ovarian cancer. The verdict, which was reached by a jury in August 2017, was subsequently vacated by a judge who determined that there was not sufficient evidence to justify the jury’s decision.

Specifically, a California state court judge based in Los Angeles ruled in October 2017 that the plaintiff had failed to sufficiently establish that the actions of Johnson & Johnson (J&J) were legally connected to its subsidiary JJCI, which has been responsible for manufacturing and marketing the company’s talc-based products since 1967. The judge also found that the $417 million award was “plainly excessive,” granting J&J’s request for a new trial.

Following the landmark August 2017 verdict, plaintiff Eva Echeverria passed away from the ovarian cancer she alleged was caused by decades of regular exposure to J&J talc-based products. Her daughter Elisha filed the brief in her capacity as trustee of her deceased mother’s estate.

“The trial court did a complete about-face when it granted a new trial and both [defendants’] JNOV motions,” Echevarria argued in her 115-page brief, according to Law360. “When defendants moved for nonsuit or directed verdict, the court had held there was sufficient evidence to go to the jury on whether both J&J and JJCI acted with conscious disregard for safety in failing to warn Ms. Echeverria about the risk of ovarian cancer, but after the verdict, the court reached the opposite conclusion.”

The $417 million included $70 million in compensatory damages and an additional $347 million in punitive damages.

Echevarria’s challenge to the granting of a new trial comes on the heels of a multibillion dollar verdict reached by a jury in St. Louis, Missouri in the case of 22 women who claimed they developed cancer as a result of decades of use of J&J talc products.

Stay tuned to TheLawFirm.com for the latest legal developments involving J&J talc products.

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Law 360

• July 24, 2018

Talcum Powder Lawsuit Settlement News: Experts Examine Impact of $4 Billion Talc Verdict

As the fallout continues from the massive $4.69 billion jury verdict against Johnson & Johnson over allegations that its talcum-powder products caused 22 women to develop cancer, legal experts are beginning to examine the case’s potential ramifications for talcum-powder litigation going forward.

While the size of the verdict itself—which breaks down to $213 million per plaintiff—is grabbing headlines, some commentators are pointing to the mounting evidence that J&J talc products contain asbestos and that the company went out of its way to conceal that information from the public as perhaps having a more lasting impact.

Whereas previous cases against the consumer goods giant have included claims that J&J talc-based products caused women to develop ovarian cancer and others have alleged the same products caused mesothelioma, the St. Louis trial featuring 22 female plaintiffs or their estates was the first to combine both ovarian cancer and mesothelioma plaintiffs into a single trial. The success of this strategy may see it replicated by other attorneys going forward.

However, some were skeptical of this strategy going into the trial.

“My skepticism was I thought it combined the problems with both cases, being able to prove a connection between ovarian cancer and talc and having to show that asbestos could cause something other than mesothelioma with regards to talc,” Jean Eggen, distinguished emeritus professor at Widener University Delaware Law School, told Law360. “But then you add a contaminant to the product, asbestos, and it’s a contaminant that’s known to cause various health problems, and that seems to have helped. Once they were able to show asbestos in talc…then the idea it causes health problems became easier.”

Attorney Wendy Fleishman of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Berstein LLP, which also represents clients alleging cancer caused by talc-based products, echoed those thoughts, highlighting the importance of the presence of asbestos in making their case.

“There’s a lot of debate over whether the ovarian cancer is caused by the exposure to the talc, versus any other event, but it’s 100 percent certain that asbestos causes ovarian cancer,” Fleishman said, according to Law360.

If you or a loved one has developed mesothelioma or lung cancer following decades of regular exposure to talcum-powder products, such as Johnson’s Baby Powder, contact the experienced team of attorneys at TheLawFirm.com today for a free legal consultation!

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Law 360

• July 13, 2018

Jury Hits Johnson and Johnson with $4Billion in Punitive Damages

The same day that it hit the consumer goods giant with $550 million in compensatory damages over allegations that its talcum-powder based products gave women cancer, a St. Louis jury announced over $4 billion in additional punitive damages against Johnson & Johnson. The massive landmark verdict comes at the conclusion of a six week trial that included 22 female plaintiffs or their estates.

Although the jury required less than one full day of deliberations in reaching its verdict, and fewer than two hours to determine the enormous amount of punitive damages, attorneys for Johnson & Johnson immediately announced their intention to appeal the decision, citing numerous alleged problems with the trial. In all, the jury compelled Johnson & Johnson and Johnson & Johnson Consumer to pay $4.14 billion in compensatory damages, including $3.15 billion against J&J and $990 million against J&J Consumer.

Thursday, July 12, 2018, may turn out to be a significant turning point in the corporate history of Johnson & Johnson, which documents presented at trial suggest has been covering up evidence of asbestos in its talcum-powder products dating back to the 1970s.

“For over 40 years, Johnson & Johnson has covered up the evidence of asbestos in their products,” said Mark Lanier, attorney for the 22 plaintiffs, according to Law360. “We hope this verdict will get the attention of the J&J board and that it will lead them to better inform the medical community and the public about the connection between asbestos, talc, and ovarian cancer.”

At other times, Lanier has chastised Johnson & Johnson for refusing to acknowledge the growing body of evidence that its talc-based products contain asbestos and can cause mesothelioma and ovarian cancer. Arguing that the company places corporate profits ahead of consumer wellbeing, Lanier has questioned why the company refuses to place a warning label on its products.

The multi-billion dollar verdict is based on jury findings that J&J and J&J Consumer were liable based on negligence and product liability grounds.

Interestingly, the massive verdict has gained little traction with mainstream media outlets. Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries account for a large percentage of media advertising spending in the United States.

Stay tuned to TheLawFirm.com for the latest news on the real risks to you and your family that the corporate interests don’t want you to hear about.

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• July 13, 2018

$550 Million Talc Verdict

Talcum Powder Lawsuit News: St Louis Jury Hits Johnson and Johnson with $550 Million Talc Verdict

Needing less than one full day of deliberations following six weeks of trial, a jury in St. Louis hit Johnson & Johnson with over half-a-billion dollars in damages on Thursday, July 12, 2018, finding the company liable on both product liability and negligence grounds for its talcum-powder products having caused cancer in 22 female plaintiffs.

The $550 million in damages represents $25 million per plaintiff, or, where a woman and her husband both brought suit, $12.5 million per individual. The trial now will enter its punitive damages phase, during which Johnson & Johnson remains on the hook for potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in additional penalties.

During closing remarks delivered just one day prior to the jury’s delivering its verdict, plaintiffs attorney Mark Lanier had likened the jurors to investigators on the popular television crime drama CSI, calling on them to piece together the evidence in order to hold the perpetrator—in this case, Johnson & Johnson—to justice.

An attorney for Johnson & Johnson had countered by calling Lanier a master storyteller whose tales were just that: fiction.

In the end, the jury found Lanier’s account to be the more believable, delivering the landmark verdict that comes on the heals of a $117m verdict reached earlier this year by a New Jersey jury, a sum that recently survived appeal.

If the past is any indication, Johnson & Johnson almost certainly will be appealing this decision as well, regardless of the outcome of the punitive damages portion of the proceeding. However, as the verdicts against it continue to pile up, Johnson & Johnson increasingly will have a difficult time continuing to contend to juries and an increasingly skeptical public that its products do not cause the harms alleged.

Stay tuned to TheLawFirm.com for the latest developments in Johnson & Johnson talcum powder litigation.

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Law 360

• July 12, 2018

Talcum Powder Lawsuit Update: Attorneys Give Closing Arguments in J & J Talc Trial involving 22 Women

On Wednesday, July 11, 2018, attorneys presented their closing arguments in the trial of 22 women alleging that Johnson & Johnson talcum-powder products gave them cancer. While Mark Lanier, attorney for the plaintiffs, urged jurors to hold the company to account, lawyers for the consumer-goods giant sought to paint the allegations as pure “fiction”.

As he had throughout the trial, Lanier sought to personalize the 22 women, six of whom have passed away from their diseases, while characterizing Johnson & Johnson as a profit-hungry corporate monster that has covered up data and concealed important information from consumers.

Attorney Peter Bicks representing Johnson & Johnson maintained the same hardline denials the company has deployed throughout multiple trials over allegations that its talcum-powder products contain asbestos and can cause ovarian cancer and mesothelioma, calling Lanier a “storyteller”, according to Law360.

“Lawyers are many things, but I told you in my opening statement, they’re not cancer doctors,” Bicks, the lawyer for J&J, told the jury. “There’s no evidence any doctors who took care of these women ever suggested talc ... had anything to do with their ovarian cancer.”

Following the long, six-week trial, the ultimate decision finally will go to the jury with millions if not billions of dollars potentially on the line. While elusive as to asking for a specific dollar amount to cover all 22 plaintiffs, Lanier did tell the jury that if he were representing a single client, he would ask for $150 million, emphasizing that no amount of money could possibly compensate the plaintiffs for what they have lost.

“For this company to make an insinuation that this is about money tells me one thing, it is for them,” Lanier said. “Because it’s the only reason they won’t put a warning on this product, it is the only reason.”

The trial represents the latest in a series of lawsuits brought against Johnson & Johnson and competitor Colgate-Palmolive alleging that their talcum-powder products contain asbestos and that regular exposure can lead to ovarian cancer or mesothelioma. An appellate court in New Jersey recently upheld a $117 million jury verdict in favor of Stephen Lanzo III and his wife, who alleged that Mr. Lanzo had developed mesothelioma following years of regular exposure to Johnson & Johnson talc-based products.

If you or a loved one has developed mesothelioma or ovarian cancer following decades of regular exposure to Johnson & Johnson or Colgate-Palmolive talcum-powder products, contact the experienced team of attorneys at TheLawFirm.com today for a free consultation!

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Law 360

• July 12, 2018

Talcum Powder Lawsuit Update: Colgate-Palmolive Settles Talc-Mesothelioma Case on Eve of Jury Selection

Perhaps seeking to avoid the same fate as its competitor Johnson & Johnson (J&J), which recently had a $117 million verdict against it and its talc supplier Imerys upheld by a New Jersey appellate court, consumer goods giant Colgate-Palmolive on Monday, July 9, 2018 reached a settlement with a man who accused the company of selling talcum-powder products that contained asbestos, thereby causing the man to develop the deadly cancer mesothelioma. The terms of the settlement were not immediately disclosed.

While J&J has been the most frequent target of recent litigation alleging that daily exposure to talc-based products over a period of years can cause mesothelioma and ovarian cancer, Colgate-Palmolive did face a similar claim back in 2015. In that case, a woman accused the Colgate-Palmolive product Cashmere Bouquet of causing her mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer extremely closely linked to asbestos exposure. Finding against the defendant company, a California jury awarded the woman $13 million, a figure which does not include compensation due under a settlement agreement reached between the plaintiff and defendant prior to the jury’s punitive damages determination.

In the instant case, plaintiff Paul Garcia had alleged that Colgate-Palmolive products such as Cashmere Bouquet and Mennen Baby Powder contained asbestos, which caused him to develop mesothelioma. The talc supplier Imerys, which has been co-defendant in the J&J cases, also was a defendant in the Garcia case as talc supplier to Colgate-Palmolive.

Presently, J&J is involved in litigation in St. Louis with 16 women and the estates of six others who allege that J&J talc-based products gave them cancer and that J&J covered up information showing the presence of asbestos fibers in the mines from which it sourced its talc.

If you or a loved one has developed mesothelioma or ovarian cancer following years of daily exposure to talcum-powder products, contact the experienced team of attorneys at TheLawFirm.com today for a free legal consultation with an actual attorney! The law places strict time limits on your ability to file a claim, so don’t delay, call TheLawFirm.com today!

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Law 360 - 2018 Settlement

Law 360-2015 California Verdict

• July 10, 2018

Talcum Powder Lawsuit Update: Johnson and Johnson Lawyer Argues Plaintiffs Cancer Not Caused by Talc Exposure

Citing a family history of the disease in plaintiffs alleging that Johnson & Johnson talc-based products gave them cancer, gynecologic oncologist Warner Huh testified on behalf of the consumer-goods giant that sources other than J&J talcum powder were responsible for the plaintiffs’ cancer. The expert testimony took place on July 5, 2018 in the fifth week of a trial in which 22 women have sued J&J alleging that the company’s talcum-powder-based products caused them to develop cancer.

Claiming his involvement was motivated by a desire to prevent the spread of “misinformation” that was impacting his own patients, Huh testified, according to Law360: “The concern I have here, in terms of this relationship that I don’t think exists [between talcum powder and ovarian cancer], is it takes time away from our patients…and their families, in terms of the risk factors and how to treat women with ovarian cancer.”

During his testimony, Huh focused primarily on the genetic histories of only five of the 22 plaintiffs, attempting to show they each possessed a genetic “pedigree” to have developed cancer.

Acting as an expert witness for J&J, Huh echoed arguments made by attorneys for the company during opening remarks for the ongoing trial, such as that years of testing by universities, the government, and J&J have failed to substantiate claims that talc contains the harmful material asbestos or that years of regular exposure to talc-based products can cause cancer.

Mark Lanier, attorney for the plaintiffs, refutes such supposed evidence as the product of decades of J&J efforts to conceal the truth about its talcum-powder products, such as the extremely popular Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower brand products.

If you or a loved one has developed mesothelioma or ovarian cancer after years of daily exposure to Johnson & Johnson talc-based products, contact the experienced team of attorneys at TheLawFirm.com today for a free consultation!

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Law 360

• July 3, 2018

Talcum Powder Lawsuit Update: NJ Judge Denies Johnson and Johnson Effort to Overturn $117 Million Talc Verdict

On Friday, June 29, 2018, New Jersey Superior Court Judge Ana C. Viscomi rejected an effort by Johnson & Johnson and its talc supplier Imerys Talc America Inc. to have $117 million in damages imposed against the companies overturned. The sum was awarded by a New Jersey state jury to Stephen Lanzo III and his wife after the jury found that J&J talcum-powder products were responsible for causing Lanzo’s mesothelioma.

In reaching her decision to uphold the amount of the award, Judge Viscomi cited the vast evidence the jury heard from both sides and found that, based on the information presented at trial, the jury’s decision was reasonable and did not “shock the judicial conscience.”

As examples of evidence that reasonably could have led the jury to its massive nine-figure award, Judge Viscomi referenced a statement by an Imerys employee who stated that it was “time to create confusion with regard to defining asbestos and testing protocols.” Further, a doctor for J&J had warned the company of his concerns over the presence of asbestos in talcum powder.

In addition to denying J&J and Imerys’ attempts to have the jury award vacated, Judge Viscomi also denied the companies’ request for a new trial, stating that they failed to demonstrate a miscarriage of justice. Despite the setback, J&J and Imerys quickly declared their intent to fight onward.

“We believe there was significant legal error during the course of the trial and look forward to having the case heard by the appellate court,” Johnson & Johnson said in a statement, per Law360. “We will begin the process of filing our appeal immediately.”

If you or a loved one has developed mesothelioma or ovarian cancer after years of exposure to Johnson & Johnson talcum-powder products, including Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower brand products, contact the experienced team of attorneys at TheLawFirm.com today for a free consultation!

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Law 360

• June 25, 2018

Talcum Powder Lawsuit News: BASF Pulled into Johnson and Johnson Talc Suit

In a largely unforeseen development, seven-year-old litigation involving a Vermont talc mine formerly owned by chemical giant BASF has become intertwined with ongoing lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson over asbestos allegedly contained in its talcum-powder products, Law360 reported June 20, 2018. BASF and its former legal counsel stand accused of destroying documents and other evidence pertaining to the presence of asbestos fibers at the talc mine in question, which was one of several Vermont mines from which Johnson & Johnson has sourced its talc.

Despite multiple jury verdicts finding the company liable for plaintiffs’ mesothelioma—a particularly deadly form of cancer extremely closely linked with asbestos exposure—Johnson & Johnson continues to deny that its talcum-powder products, such as Johnson Baby Powder and Shower to Shower brand products, contain asbestos.

Previously, the Vermont talc mine in question—known as the Johnson mine for its location in Johnson, Vermont—had been the focus of a settlement involving more than 2,600 workers for tire company BF Goodrich, which had used large volumes of industrial talc from the Johnson mine in its operations. If it is found that BASF and former legal counsel Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP destroyed evidence relating to the presence of asbestos in the Johnson mine, then those workers could have been defrauded out of a much larger settlement.

It also could mean yet another piece of evidence not only linking Johnson & Johnson talcum-powder products with asbestos, but revealing a massive, decades-long coverup that has long been alleged by plaintiffs’ attorneys across the country.

Attorney Mark Lanier, who presently is suing Johnson & Johnson on behalf of nearly two dozen women who claim to have developed cancer after years of regular exposure to J&J talc-based products, confirmed to Law360 that the Johnson talc mine had been one of the Vermont mines to supply Johnson & Johnson.

Lawyer Thomas Bevan, who had represented many of the BF Goodrich workers in their original settlement, also has indicated under oath that he believes there is a link between the Johnson talc mine and the Johnson & Johnson talcum-powder litigation.

“I believe [the BASF case] does involve Johnson & Johnson,” Bevan has testified, according to Law360, “because I believe that Johnson & Johnson had the liabilities up until a certain point in time for this, the talc that came out of that mine.”

If you or a loved one has developed mesothelioma or ovarian cancer following decades of regular exposure to Johnson & Johnson talcum-powder products, contact the experienced team of attorneys at TheLawFirm.com today for a free consultation!

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Law 360

• June 13, 2018

Talcum Powder Lawsuit News: Johnson and Johnson Secretly Funded Study Denying Talc-Cancer Link, Attorney Claims

Johnson & Johnson Consumer Products and a talc-mining company funneled money through a law firm in order to conceal their funding of a study questioning the alleged link between talc and ovarian cancer, an attorney for 22 plaintiffs suing Johnson & Johnson claimed before a St. Louis jury on June 12, 2018. The study, published in the April 2008 issue of the European Journal of Cancer Prevention, dismissed the findings of other studies that had found an association between talcum-powder use and ovarian cancer, saying at one point, “These data collectively do not indicate that cosmetic talc causes ovarian cancer.”

According to plaintiffs’ attorney Mark Lanier, such behavior is part of J&J’s systematic, purposeful approach to concealing the true dangers of its consumer products, especially those containing talcum powder. In addition to claims that decades of daily talcum-powder use caused women to develop ovarian cancer, multiple lawsuits across the country have now alleged that J&J’s talc-based products contain asbestos, which is responsible for the rare but deadly cancer known as mesothelioma.

Lanier attempted to drive his point home to the jury by subjecting them to hours of videotaped depositions involving J&J Chief Medical Officer Joanne Waldstreicher. During the sworn testimony, Waldstreicher is seen conceding that transparency of funding is necessary but attempts to push the blame for any shortcomings onto the study’s authors.

In the video, plaintiffs’ attorney Lanier asks Waldstreicher directly, “In truth of fact, the whole thing has been funded and preplanned by industry with a financial interest. That needs to be part of the transparency picture as well, doesn’t it?”

“The funding has to be transparent,” Waldstreicher responds, according to Law360, later adding, “I don’t think it was Johnson & Johnson’s goal to hide anything…And it’s the authors’ responsibility to disclose the funding.”

Elsewhere in the videotaped deposition, Lanier presents Waldstreicher with a February 2005 email from a partner at the go-between law firm to an employee at J&J. The email states, “Our plan is for [the law firm of] Crowell & Moring to retain the doctors so as to preserve the benefit of the attorney work product privilege, which is helpful in protecting confidentiality.”

If you or a loved one have developed ovarian cancer or mesothelioma following decades of daily use of Johnson & Johnson talcum-powder products such as Johnson’s Baby Powder or Shower to Shower brand products, contact the experienced team of attorneys at TheLawFirm.com today for a free consultation!

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Law 360

• June 13, 2018

Talcum Powder Lawsuit News: CA Judge Declares Mistrial in Talc-Cancer Trial After Death of Plaintiff

On June 11, 2018, a judge in California granted Johnson & Johnson’s request for a mistrial in the case of Ilene Brick, who alleged that she developed mesothelioma after decades of regular exposure to asbestos in J&J talcum-powder products, after it was revealed that the plaintiff had succumbed to her illness and passed away the week prior.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Stephen Moloney told the jury prior to dismissing them that his granting the mistrial was an outcome required by law, as the court would lose jurisdiction over the issue until Brick’s successor-in-interest could be named. Similarly, the judge explained, some of the damages sought at trial were no longer applicable, while other damages that had not been the subject of the trial may now be available.

In its motion requesting a mistrial, which was filed the previous Friday, J&J argued that such an outcome was especially appropriate given the trial apparently had been allowed to proceed for several days after Brick’s death before the court was made aware of the fact of her passing.

“Multiple days of trial cannot be undone and put back together,” attorneys for J&J argued, according to Law360.

Brick had sued J&J alleging that the company and had been aware of the presence of asbestos fibers in its talc-based products but had failed to act to protect consumers. Brick had developed pleural mesothelioma, a rare but especially deadly form of cancer that afflicts the lining of the lungs and is associated extremely closely with asbestos exposure. She was the latest in a flurry of plaintiffs bringing similar claims, one of which has resulted in a $117 million jury award in favor of a New Jersey man who also alleged that exposure to J&J talcum-powder products caused his mesothelioma. (J&J presently is appealing that verdict.)

It is expected that Brick’s estate will bring a new suit on her behalf as soon as her affairs are brought into order.

If you or a loved one has developed mesothelioma or ovarian cancer following decades of regular exposure to Johnson & Johnson talcum-powder products, contact the experienced team of attorneys at TheLawFirm.com now for a free legal consultation!

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Law 360

• June 8, 2018

Talcum Powder Lawsuit News: Johnson and Johnson Continues Efforts to Toss $117 Million NJ Asbestos Verdicts

“That is a made-up lawyer argument,” Johnson & Johnson (J&J) attorney John C. Garde told a New Jersey state court June 6, 2018, regarding allegations that his client had withheld information and in fact lied over whether or not its talcum-powder-based products contain the cancer-causing substance asbestos. According to Law360, Garde’s statement came in the course of his spearheading J&J’s latest efforts to have overturned a landmark $117 million jury award in the favor of a man with mesothelioma and his wife.

Among the other arguments made as to why the nine-figure award was inappropriate, Garde cited the fact that plaintiff Stephen Lanzo III is still alive, having not yet succumbed to the vicious and painful disease that ultimately and inevitably will end his life prematurely. Garde contends that in closing remarks the jury was misled in a way that may have resulted in it improperly including in its award damages for Lanzo’s death, which had not yet occurred.

“The content of the closing inappropriately allowed the jury to think that they were going to compensate Mr. Lanzo and Mrs. Lanzo for things that are not part of this trial,” Garde told the court, according to Law360, obliquely and callously referring to Mr. Lanzo’s impending death.

Countering Garde’s arguments on behalf of J&J, an attorney for the Lanzos asked the court to consider documents evidencing J&J’s knowledge of asbestos in its talcum-powder products going back decades. Plaintiffs’ attorney Denyse F. Clancy further argued that any mention of Mr. Lanzo’s death made before the jury was in reference specifically to the mental anguish over this fact that Mr. Lanzo continues to experience on a daily basis.

With litigation over its talcum-powder products raging across the country, Johnson & Johnson continues to demonstrate time and again that it would rather spend millions of dollars on high-priced lawyers than simply ensure that its products are safe for public use. If you or a loved one has developed mesothelioma or ovarian cancer following years of regular exposure to Johnson & Johnson talcum-powder products, contact the experienced team of attorneys at TheLawFirm.com today for a free consultation!

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Law 360

• June 8, 2018

Talcum Powder Lawsuit News: 22 Plaintiffs Bring Suit Over Johnson and Johnson Talc in St. Louis

“There’s a mine in Italy that publishes an Italian publication. This is a mine that supplies [Johnson & Johnson’s] baby powder. And the publication says, ‘We’ve got asbestos in talc mines. And the company sends two of their big dogs over to Italy to get in front of the company and say, ‘Please stop this English translation from going out until we can work on it and take out the asbestos.”

So explained renowned plaintiffs’ attorney Mark Lanier before a St. Louis jury on Wednesday, June 6, 2018, according to Law360, as the trial began in the case of 22 women—six of whom are now deceased—who are suing consumer goods and pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson over allegations that the company’s popular talcum-powder-based products contain the hazardous substance asbestos, which resulted in the plaintiffs’ developing cancer.

Continuing, Lanier said of J&J attorney Peter Bicks, “I firmly expect Mr. Bicks will get up here and tell you over and over and show you document after document…that says, look, we’ve tested every which way to Sunday; we’ve got hundreds and hundreds of tests, and it’s never shown asbestos.”

However, echoing identical allegations made by plaintiffs in similar cases, Lanier added, “They rigged the tests,” repeating for emphasis: “They rigged the tests.”

Lanier’s opening statements foreshadowed what will be his main lines of argument over the course of the trial, which is expected to last several weeks. In opening remarks for the defense, Bicks also gave glimpses of what will likely be the company’s legal strategy, including a continuation of its absolute denials regarding the presence of asbestos in J&J talc products and evidence that each of the plaintiffs developed their cancer from sources other than J&J talcum powder.

The trial marks the latest in an avalanche of cases brought against Johnson & Johnson by plaintiffs across the country who allege that decades of everyday use of J&J’s talc-based-products—such as Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower brand products—gave them cancer. Early cases centered on allegations that J&J talcum-powder products had caused ovarian cancer in women, while later trials have increasingly focused on plaintiffs suffering from mesothelioma who claim that developed the deadly form of cancer due to their exposure to asbestos fibers present in J&J products.

If you or a loved one has developed ovarian cancer or mesothelioma after decades of daily use of Johnson & Johnson talc-based products, contact the experienced team of attorneys at TheLawFirm.com today for a free consultation!

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Law 360

• May 31, 2018

Talcum Powder Lawsuit News: Johnson and Johnson Faces Opening Of Another Talc-Mesothelioma Trial

The onslaught of lawsuits facing Johnson & Johnson (J&J) over alleged asbestos fibers contained in its popular talcum-powder products continues, this time in Los Angeles, where on May 29 a jury heard opening remarks from a plaintiff’s attorney alleging that exposure to asbestos in J&J consumer goods caused a 94-year-old woman’s fatal mesothelioma.

According to attorney Stuart Purdy, Ilene Brick faces a painful, premature death due to the mesothelioma he claims was caused by Ms. Brick’s five decades of exposure to J&J talc-based products.

Echoing arguments made by plaintiffs’ attorneys in similar cases, Purdy told the jury that J&J’s internal testing had revealed decades ago the presence of asbestos in talc mines from which the company sourced its talcum powder, yet, rather than come clean, J&J and its talc supplier Imerys Talc America Inc. chose to bury the findings. Purdy further asserted that J&J and Imerys have intentionally utilized equipment insufficient for the task of identifying microscopic asbestos fibers, comparing the companies’ methods to weighing a ping pong ball with a bathroom scale, according to Law360.

Khai LeQuong, representing J&J, disputed Purdy’s account by pointing to decades of research that failed to reveal the presence of any asbestos fibers in J&J talcum-powder products. LeQuong ascribed Ms. Brick’s pleural mesothelioma—which afflicts the lining of the lungs—to her being a chronic smoker of asbestos-packed cigarettes. (According to LeQuong, Kent cigarettes—Ms. Brick’s preferred brand of cigarettes—contained crocidolite asbestos, which is correlated extremely closely with pleural mesothelioma.)

The lawsuit is the third talc-mesothelioma case to go to trial in California. In November 2017, a jury agreed with J&J and Imerys, finding against husband and wife plaintiffs who had alleged that asbestos was present in J&J’s talc products. However, in May 2018, a California state jury ordered J&J to pay over $25 million in damages—including $4 million in punitive damages—over allegations that asbestos in J&J’s products caused a woman’s mesothelioma.

Similar lawsuits also have been filed in other states, such as New Jersey and South Carolina. In April, a New Jersey jury hit J&J and Imerys with total damages of $117 million in the case of Stephen Lanzo III, who also alleged that his mesothelioma was caused by years of exposure to J&J talc-based products.

Stay tuned to TheLawFirm.com for the latest news on Johnson & Johnson talcum-powder litigation. If you or a loved one has developed mesothelioma or ovarian cancer following decades of daily exposure to Johnson & Johnson talcum-powder products, such as Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower brand products, contact the experienced team of attorneys at TheLawFirm.com today for a free consultation!

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Law 360

• May 28, 2018

Talcum Powder Lawsuit News: Deadlocked Jury Leads To Mistrial In Talc - Mesothelioma Case

Following a verdict by a California jury earlier in the week in which Johnson & Johnson was held liable for its talc-based products’ causal role in the plaintiff’s mesothelioma, a South Carolina jury announced that it had deadlocked on similar claims, leading to a mistrial.

In the South Carolina case, plaintiff Antoine Bostic was suing on behalf of his deceased wife and former law partner Bertila Boyd-Bostic, who passed away from mesothelioma at the age of 30. On Friday, May 25, the jury deliberated from approximately 10 am until 4 pm at which point it informed Darlington County Circuit Court Judge Jean Toal that it would be unable to reach a unanimous decision.

“Your honor, we respectfully agree to disagree,” the jury foreperson informed the court. “We can sit there and round robin a hundred times, but we have all decided there is just no way we can come to a unanimous verdict.”

In addition to suing Johnson & Johnson—claiming that asbestos fibers in the company’s talc-based products caused Boyd-Bostic’s mesothelioma—Bostic also had sued Rite Aid of South Carolina, the retailer that sold the allegedly harmful products. While the jury failed to reach a verdict with regards to Johnson & Johnson, it did unanimously find Rite Aid not liable.

Attorneys for the plaintiff announced their intent to retry the case at the earliest possible date, saying, according to Law360, “We continue to believe that the daily use of talcum powder on Bertila [Boyd-Bostic] from birth led to her death.”

Referencing the fact that Boyd-Bostic had brought the claims herself prior to her untimely death, they added, “She ultimately wanted to share her story with others through her suit.”

If you or a loved one has developed mesothelioma or ovarian cancer following decades of daily exposure to Johnson & Johnson talcum-powder products—such as Johnson’s Baby Powder or Shower to Shower brand products—contact the experienced team of attorneys at TheLawFirm.com today for a free consultation!

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Law 360

• May 25, 2018

Talcum Powder Lawsuit News: Johnson and Johnson Liable in CA Talc-Mesothelioma Case, Must Pay 25+ Million

Marking a growing trend of juries across the country finding Johnson & Johnson liable for mesothelioma allegedly caused by decades of exposure to its talcum-powder products, on May 23, a California jury announced its verdict finding that the consumer-goods and pharmaceutical giant must pay over $21 million in compensatory damages to a woman suffering from the particularly deadly form of cancer. The following day, the same jury struck Johnson & Johnson with $4 million in punitive damages in the case, indicating that the company had demonstrated “malice, oppression or fraud.”

Johnson & Johnson immediately announced plans to appeal, while continuing to deny that its popular talcum-powder products contain asbestos, a dangerous substance extremely strongly associated with mesothelioma of the lung. Johnson & Johnson talc products include Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower brand products.

In its verdict, the jury assigned two-thirds of the blame for the plaintiff’s mesothelioma to Johnson & Johnson, as allowed for under California law. The jury apportioned the other one-third to asbestos exposure related to the woman’s proximity to her husband’s automotive work.

In an unusual move, during deliberations, the jury asked the court if—in lieu of monetary punitive damages—they could order Johnson & Johnson to place a warning label related to the presence of asbestos on its talc-based products. The court informed the jury that it legally could not order such an act in its verdict.

The California decision comes on the heels of New Jersey jury’s awarding $80 million to Stephen Lanzo III and his wife, finding Johnson & Johnson and its talc supplier Imerys responsible for Stephen’s mesothelioma. A similar case in South Carolina recently concluded closing arguments with a verdict imminent.

If you or a loved one has developed mesothelioma or ovarian cancer after decades of daily exposure to Johnson & Johnson talcum-powder products, contact the experienced team of attorneys at TheLawFirm.com today for a free consultation!

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Law 360

• May 25, 2018

Talcum Powder Lawsuit News: Expert For Johnson and Johnson Claims No Asbestos in Talc Mines To SC Jury

By the age of 30, Bertila Boyd-Bostic might already have seemed to have it all. She had a met her future husband in law school, and the two later shared not only a marriage but also a legal practice—Bostic and Boyd LLC—in which both were named partners. But then the unthinkable happened. Bertila was diagnosed with pericardial mesothelioma, an extremely rare form of the deadly cancer that afflicts the lining of the heart. By October 2017, she had passed away from the ravaging disease.

However, before she passed, Bertila managed to direct her years of legal training toward one final case: her own. In May 2017, just months before her death, Bertila Boyd-Bostic sued 15 companies. In September, in what would be one of her final acts, she added a few more: Johnson & Johnson Consumer, its talc supplier Imerys Talc America Inc., and Rite Aid of South Carolina Inc., alleging that asbestos present in Johnson & Johnson consumer talcum-powder products had caused the mesothelioma that ultimately would kill her.

Following Bertila’s passing, her husband Antoine Bostic assumed the role of plaintiff in what had become a wrongful death suit, alleging that decades of exposure to Johnson’s Baby Powder purchased at a Ride Aid pharmacy had caused Bertila’s mesothelioma. Previously, expert William Longo testified on behalf of the plaintiff that he had identified asbestos fibers in a sample of Johnson & Johnson talc, echoing claims made by expert witness in previous talc-mesothelioma cases in California and New Jersey.

On May 22, however, attorneys for Johnson & Johnson called their own expert Matthew Sanchez to refute Longo’s findings. In his testimony, Sanchez told the jury that based on his own examinations and analysis, he found Imerys’ Vermont talc mines to be asbestos-free, leading him to doubt the presence of asbestos fibers in the final talcum powder consumer products. Sanchez further testified that what Longo had identified as asbestos fibers were, in fact, amphiboles in a non-asbestos form.

Johnson & Johnson attorneys additionally have tried to dispute the causal link between the company’s talc-based products and the decedent’s mesothelioma by arguing that asbestos exposure is not associated with pericardial mesothelioma (the form from which Ms. Boyd-Bostic suffered) to the same extent as is pleural mesothelioma, which affects the lining of the lung.

Stay tuned to TheLawFirm.com for the latest developments in this and other talc-mesothelioma cases.

Have you or a loved one developed mesothelioma following decades of everyday use of Johnson & Johnson talcum powder products, such as Johnson’s Baby Powder or Shower to Shower brand products? If so, contact the experienced team of attorneys at TheLawFirm.com today for a free legal consultation with an actual lawyer. Don’t let those responsible for your condition continue to profit without being held accountable. Contact us today!

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Law 360

• May 11, 2018

Talcum Powder Lawsuit News: Plaintiffs Fight Johnson and Johnson Efforts To Reverse $117 Million Talc Verdict

Fighting an effort by consumer-goods and pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and its talc supplier to have a $117 million jury verdict tossed out, on May 7, plaintiffs Stephen Lanzo III and his wife Kendra appeared before a New Jersey state court to argue that they had presented evidence sufficient for the jury to have found that decades of exposure to the asbestos fibers in J&J talcum-powder products caused Mr. Lanzo to develop mesothelioma, a particularly deadly form of cancer.

The landmark verdict was the first in which a jury has found J&J liable for a plaintiff’s mesothelioma, with a 2017 California jury having found for the defense on similar claims. However, J&J has been found liable for millions of dollars in damages for other harms allegedly caused by its talcum-powder containing products, which include the iconic Johnson’s Baby Powder and the popular Shower to Shower brand. For example, J&J’s talc-containing products have been found by multiple juries to have caused female plaintiffs’ ovarian cancer following decades of exposure.

In the instant case, J&J continues to deny that its talc products contain asbestos in any measurable amounts, while Imerys—the talc supplier—similarly claims to have tested its talc mines in Vermont and Italy and found them to be free of asbestos above natural background levels.

Also, in a cynical but not out-of-character ploy, attorneys for J&J have asserted that the plaintiffs’ samples of identical J&J products to the ones used by Mr. Lanzo do not represent sufficient evidence of the presence of asbestos in the actual products he used, implying that he somehow should have retained samples of the exact products he used as far back as the 1970s. (And, it is worth noting, basically admitting that it is irrelevant to the companies if other J&J products contain dangerous levels of asbestos because it cannot be proven that the actual products used by the plaintiff contained those same levels. Even if this were true, what of J&J’s other customers?)

By contrast, at trial, the plaintiffs presented their own evidence of dangerous asbestos levels in the J&J products that Mr. Lanzo had used daily for years, arguing that J&J and Imerys intentionally used obsolete testing methodologies that would not detect asbestos at as low of levels as would other available options. Using these more sensitive approaches, experts for the plaintiffs testified to the existence of asbestos fibers in J&J products at levels sufficient to have caused the plaintiff’s mesothelioma following decades of regular exposure.

Rather than pull its unsafe products from the market, J&J continues to show that it would rather invest money in after-the-fact litigation than in ensuring the safety of the products. If you have developed mesothelioma or ovarian cancer following decades of daily exposure to J&J talcum-powder products, contact the experienced team of attorneys at TheLawFirm.com today for a free consultation.

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Source:

Law 360

• May 2, 2018

Talcum Powder Lawsuit News: Johnson and Johnson Moves to Have $117 Million Verdict Tossed

In an entirely predictable yet nonetheless regrettable development, consumer-goods and pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson has moved to have a New Jersey state court dismiss a $117-million jury verdict and order a new trial in the case of a man who claims to have development mesothelioma as a result of decades of exposure to asbestos contained in talc-based products sold by Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. (JJCI).

In early April, a New Jersey state court jury announced its landmark verdict, marking the first time that JJIC and Imerys Talc America Inc.—JJCI’s talc supplier—had been found legally responsible for a plaintiff’s mesothelioma. (In November 2017, a California jury had found the defendant companies not liable on similar claims.)

A few days after finding JJIC and Imerys responsible for the plaintiff’s mesothelioma, the jury announced its penalty of $117 million in damages, consisting of $37 million in compensatory damages and $80 million in punitive damages, with JJIC assigned 70% of fault and Imerys 30%. Accordingly, JJIC was ordered to pay $55 million in punitive damages, while Imerys’s share was $25 million.

However, in a move straight out of its standard playbook, JJCI now will seek to have the jury’s verdict dismissed, making the business decision to invest millions in legal fees, well-compensated expert witnesses, and sham studies all aimed at concealing the truth rather than spending that money on real, independent research aimed at ensuring its products are safe for consumers.

Among other claims, JJCI and Imerys argue that attorneys for plaintiff Stephen Lonzo III and his wife failed to present adequate evidence as to the frequency of Lonzo’s talcum-powder usage and did not sufficiently demonstrate that asbestos levels in the talc—if there were any at all—were sufficient to have caused Lonzo’s mesothelioma.

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Law 360

• April 13, 2018

Talcum Powder Lawsuit: NJ Finds Johnson and Johnson and Talc Supplier Owe $80 Million In Punitive Damages

Determining that the consumer-goods giant had acted with reckless indifference by manufacturing, marketing, and selling talcum-powder products that contain asbestos, on April 11, a New Jersey state court jury slammed Johnson & Johnson and its talc supplier Imerys with a combined $80 million in punitive damages. The punitive damages finding comes on the heels of the same jury awarding the plaintiff $37 million in compensatory damages last week.

Plaintiff Stephen Lanzo III and his wife had sued Johnson & Johnson and Imerys, claiming that Johnson & Johnson talcum-powder products—including Johnson’s Baby Powder and the Shower to Shower brand—contain asbestos, and that decades of exposure to the asbestos in these products caused Lanzo’s mesothelioma, a particularly deadly form of cancer that is extremely closely linked to asbestos exposure. Following a two-month trial, the New Jersey jury found for Lanzo in a landmark verdict issued in early April. The verdict marked the first time that a jury had found Johnson & Johnson liable for harms caused by the asbestos allegedly contained in its products. (A California jury found Johnson & Johnson and Imerys not liable on similar claims in November 2017.)

Moshe Maimon, an attorney for Lanzo, had urged the jurors to make a strong statement with their punitive damages verdict, saying before the court, “Your voice should be loud. It should be so loud that all the arguments they make cannot drive out your voice. They should not be heard to tell you that you’re wrong.”

In assigning $55 million in punitive damages to Johnson & Johnson and $25 million to Imerys, the jury indeed made a strong statement that will resonate through courtrooms across America, as similarly situated plaintiffs seek to hold Johnson & Johnson and its talc supplier responsible for manufacturing and selling an unsafe product for decades.

Following the announcement of the jury’s punitive damages award, Maimon commented, “This is a historic verdict.”

Have you or a loved one developed mesothelioma after decades of exposure to the Johnson & Johnson talcum-powder products? Contact the experienced team of attorneys at TheLawFirm.com today for a free consultation!

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Source:

Law 360

• April 5, 2018

Talcum Powder Lawsuit: NJ Jury Awards Plaintiff $37m in Johnson and Johnson Talcum Powder Case

In a landmark verdict that could have huge implications for consumer products giant Johnson & Johnson and plaintiffs across the country, a New Jersey state court jury on April 5 found the company liable for plaintiff Stephen Lanzo III’s mesothelioma, awarding Lanzo and his wife a total of $37 million in compensatory damages. The verdict represents the first time that a jury has found that Johnson & Johnson’s talcum-powder based products contain the dangerous substance asbestos and that that the asbestos in these products caused the plaintiff’s mesothelioma. The verdict is likely to set off an avalanche of cases nationwide.

After a trial lasting more than two months, jurors took less than one full day of deliberations to find Johnson & Johnson and Imerys Talc America, Inc.—Johnson & Johnson’s talc supplier—liable, attributing 70% of the blame to Johnson & Johnson and 30% to Imerys. The $37 million in damages including $30 million to Lanzo and $7 million to his wife, Kendra.

The conclusions reached by the jury in the process of arriving at its verdict include: that Lanzo was exposed to asbestos in Johnson & Johnson products—including Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower—from 1972 until 2003; that Lanzo’s exposure to the asbestos in Johnson & Johnson products was a substantial factor in Lanzo’s developing mesothelioma; that, during the period 1972 to 2003, Johnson & Johnson failed to adequately warn of the dangers of its talc-based products; that, during the same period, Johnson and Johnson sold a product that was defectively designed; that defendants had failed to prove that the harms caused by its products were unknowable at the time of their distribution or sale; and that defendants had failed to prove there was no practical and technically feasible alternative design.

Johnson & Johnson and Imerys have continued to maintain adamantly that Johnson’s talc-based products do not contain asbestos. Following the verdict, Johnson & Johnson issued a statement expressing disappointment with the jury’s decision but reserving further comment until the jury had concluded all of its deliberations.

If you or a loved one has contracted mesothelioma following years of exposure to Johnson & Johnson talcum powder products, contact the experienced team of attorneys at TheLawFirm.com now for a free consultation!

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Law 360

• April 3, 2018

Talcum Powder Lawsuit: Johnson and Johnson Claims No Asbestos In Talc Products

As the nearly two-month long trial of plaintiff Stephen Lanzo III nears its conclusion, attorneys for defendant Johnson & Johnson sought in their closing arguments to cast doubt over the conclusions of the plaintiff’s expert witnesses. These experts had testified that Johnson & Johnson’s talcum-powder-based consumer products have been found to contain asbestos, and that this asbestos caused the plaintiff’s mesothelioma.

Lanzo has sued Johnson & Johnson claiming that his decades of daily exposure to the consumer giant’s talc-based products—beginning in the 1970s with Johnson Baby Powder—led to his developing the particularly deadly form of lung cancer. Expert witnesses testifying for Lanzo have testified to finding asbestos fibers in Johnson & Johnson products and have linked these fibers to Lanzo’s mesothelioma.

However, in his closing arguments, Mike Brock—attorney for Johnson & Johnson—sought to poke holes in the arguments of the plaintiff’s experts. While maintaining adamantly that Johnson & Johnson products do not and have never contained asbestos, Brock also argued that asbestos was present in Lanzo’s childhood home and his high school; that the particular form of asbestos found in Lanzo’s body—crocidolite—has been identified only in commercial asbestos, never in cosmetic talc; and that Lanzo’s experts had cherry picked their evidence to paint for the jury a distorted picture favorable to the plaintiff.

In addition to Johnson & Johnson, Lanzo and his wife Kendra also have sued Imerys Talc America Inc.—talc supplier to Johnson & Johnson—and its predecessor, Cyprus Amax Minerals Co. A similar case previously was brought by a California plaintiff, with the companies prevailing in a decision issued November 2017.

However, with each trial, the pool of available information—including internal company documents—expands, meaning the strength of plaintiffs’ cases has the potential to increase with time.

If you or a loved one has developed mesothelioma after years of regular exposure to Johnson & Johnson talcum-powder products—including Johnson Baby Powder and Shower to Shower powders—contact the expert attorneys at TheLawFirm.com today for a free consultation.

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Source:

Law 360 - “Man Will Die From J&J Talc-Caused Mesothelioma, Jury Told”

• February 24, 2018

Expert Testifies Man Will Die From Mesothelioma

The latest in a series of expert witnesses testifying on behalf of a plaintiff who alleges his mesothelioma was caused by Johnson & Johnson talcum powder products stated to a federal jury on February 22 that she believes the plaintiff’s case of mesothelioma to be fatal. She further testified that, in her expert opinion, the mesothelioma was caused by asbestos fibers present in Johnson & Johnson products.

The testimony comes on the heels of another expert witness who earlier in the week reported the conclusions of his laboratory testing, which showed that Johnson & Johnson talc-based products do indeed contain asbestos fibers in sufficient quantities to cause mesothelioma following long-term exposure.

Occupational physician Jacqueline Moline of the Feinstein Institute of Medical Research at Northwell Health explained to the jury that mesothelioma is considered by experts to be a “signal cancer”—meaning that mesothelioma is so closely linked to asbestos that developing mesothelioma is, in and of itself, indicative of asbestos exposure. Further, Dr. Moline stated that available evidence demonstrates both that Johnson & Johnson talc-based products contain asbestos and that plaintiff Stephen Lonzo III had been sufficiently exposed to that asbestos for it to have caused his mesothelioma.

“He had daily, often more than once a day, exposure to talcum powder,” testified Dr. Moline, according to Law360. “It’s been shown the talcum powder had asbestos from a variety of sampling tests. This was something he had regular exposure to, this was part of his daily routine, it was in his home.”

The case in New Jersey federal district court is the second trial taking place nationally to feature a plaintiff seeking to hold Johnson & Johnson and its talc suppliers liable for causing a plaintiff’s mesothelioma. The first such trial—a California case decided in November 2017—found the companies not liable. However, as the expert witness’s testimony demonstrates, evidence continues to mount showing that Johnson & Johnson talc-based products—including the highly popular Johnson’s Baby Powder—contain asbestos in concentrations sufficient to cause mesothelioma.

Have you or a loved one contracted mesothelioma after years of regular use of Johnson & Johnson talcum powder products, such as Johnson’s Baby Powder or Shower to Shower? If so, the expert attorneys at TheLawFirm.com are standing by to help you explore your legal rights. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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Law 360 - “Man Will Die From J&J Talc-Caused Mesothelioma, Jury Told”

• February 23, 2018

Expert Testifies Asbestos Found In Talc

In yet another piece of evidence supporting allegations that popular Johnson & Johnson talcum-powder products—including Johnson’s Baby Powder—contain the dangerous substance asbestos, an expert witness testified before a federal jury in New Jersey on February 20 that he had identified asbestos fibers in more than 50% of the samples of Johnson & Johnson talc-based products he had tested. Electron microscopist William Longo was called by attorneys for plaintiff Stephen Lanzo III, a man who alleges he contracted mesothelioma after years of exposure to Johnson & Johnson products.

Longo told the court that of 32 samples of Johnson & Johnson talc-based products he had tested—samples which had been stored in original packaging and which spanned decades—he had found asbestos fibers in 18, with concentrations ranging widely from as little as 8,000 fibers per gram of talcum powder to 14 million fibers per gram. Longo further explained that, while the testing equipment he had utilized was able to detect asbestos levels as low as that 8,000 fibers per gram threshold, the testing methodology utilized by Johnson & Johnson in claiming that its talc-based products contained no asbestos would only identify concentrations of 6.75 million fibers or higher.

Drawing the connection between the asbestos fibers in Johnson & Johnson products and Plaintiff Lonzo’s mesothelioma, expert witness Longo explained to the jury that the plaintiff would have been exposed to significant amounts of asbestos given his years of regular usage of Johnson & Johnson talc-based products. Additionally, Lonzo was found to have high levels of asbestos in his lymph nodes, suggesting that asbestos exposure had indeed contributed his mesothelioma.

The case is the second nationally in which a plaintiff is alleged to have developed mesothelioma as a result of his or her use of Johnson & Johnson talcum powder products. Plaintiffs also have contended, based on internal company documents, that Johnson & Johnson has been aware of the presence of asbestos in its talc-based products for years but has concealed that information from consumers. In the first trial of its kind, in November 2017, a California jury found Johnson & Johnson and its talc supplier Imerys not liable for the plaintiff’s mesothelioma. However, there are many such cases pending, and—as demonstrated by this expert witness’s testimony—with each trial, further information is revealed to support the plaintiffs’ claims.

Have you or a loved one developed mesothelioma after years of regular exposure to Johnson & Johnson talcum powder products? The expert attorneys at TheLawFirm.com offer free consultations to help you explore whether or not you may have a claim. Contact us today!

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Law360

• February 10, 2018

Shareholders Bring Class Action Lawsuit Action Johnson & Johnson for Trying To Conceal Asbestos in Talcum Powder Products

On February 8, lawyers representing shareholders of Johnson & Johnson brought a putative class action suit against the company and its executives in New Jersey District Court, claiming that the defendants misled investors by trying to conceal the presence of asbestos in the company’s popular talcum-powder-based products. The move reflects a growing consensus among outside observers that the tides are turning against Johnson & Johnson in its efforts to deflect such allegations.

Many of the claims contained in plaintiffs’ complaint mirror those that have been presented by plaintiffs in recent lawsuits who allege that they suffered serious health effects—including the development of the deadly cancer mesothelioma—as a result of long-term exposure to Johnson & Johnson talc-based products. Among the shared allegations are claims that Johnson & Johnson and its top executives have known for years about the presence of asbestos fibers in the company’s talc-based products, but that rather than disclosing this information to consumers and shareholders, Johnson & Johnson sought instead to actively conceal it.

In his complaint, named plaintiff Frank Hall points to the strong correlation between negative news reports about Johnson & Johnson products and practices and declines in the company’s stock price. As examples, Hall points to a Bloomberg article in September 2017, which revealed based on internal documents that the company had been aware of the presence of asbestos in its products as early as the 1970s. Following the release of the Bloomberg article, Hall states, Johnson & Johnson shares fell $2.28. Similarly, after a CNBC report described lawsuits as uncovering “potentially damaging documents”, the company’s shares declined $7.29.

Although Johnson & Johnson and its talc supplier Imerys Talc America Inc. have yet to be found liable in court for harms caused to consumers by asbestos allegedly contained in the company’s talcum-powder products, the decision by shareholders to sue, in conjunction with the noted declines in stock price, offer strong indications that investors anticipate a further financial reckoning for the company, which already has been ordered to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in damages to plaintiffs whose ovarian cancer was found to be caused by the women’s long-term exposure to Johnson & Johnson talc-based products.

Johnson & Johnson talc-based products include the popular Johnson’s Baby Powder as well as the company’s Shower to Shower line of hygiene powders. The investors’ claims center around alleged misstatements made by Johnson & Johnson in its mandatory 10-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), in which the company declared that it had adequate defenses to the pending lawsuits, that its products did not contain asbestos, and that its products do not cause ovarian cancer, assertions increasingly brought into question by litigation and news reports. Making false statements in a 10-K filing can be a serious violation of securities law.

Do you believe that you or a loved one has suffered serious health consequences—such as the development of mesothelioma or ovarian cancer—as a result of long-term exposure to Johnson & Johnson talcum-powder products? Contact the expert attorneys at TheLawFirm.com now for a free consultation!

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Source: Law360

• January 29, 2018

Lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder for allegedly Causing Mesothelioma Begins

January 29 marks the start of the second trial nationally to feature allegations that Johnson & Johnson talc-based products contain asbestos, which caused the plaintiff’s mesothelioma. The New Jersey-based trial comes on the heels of a California jury finding Johnson & Johnson not liable on similar claims last November. These early cases are of special importance because they will lay the foundation for later litigation in this area.

The Superior Court of New Jersey Middlesex County Division is set to hear the claims of 45-year-old Stephen Lanzo III, who was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2016 after what he claims were decades of everyday exposure to Johnson & Johnson talc-based powders, such as Johnson Baby Powder. Echoing assertions put forth by the plaintiff from the California case, Lanzo alleges that Johnson & Johnson talc-based products contain asbestos—which has been closely linked to mesothelioma—and that the company has been aware of this fact for years if not decades.

As TheLawFirm.com readers know, the asbestos-mesothelioma claims are not the only ones being brought against Johnson & Johnson over its talcum-powder-based products. The company recently has been ordered to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in damages after juries found that the use of Johnson & Johnson talc-based products was responsible for plantiffs’ ovarian cancer.

Unlike in the ovarian cancer cases, in which plaintiffs had to demonstrate a connection between the woman’s use of talc-based products and her ovarian cancer, the link between asbestos and mesothelioma has been firmly established for years. However, the vast majority of asbestos-mesothelioma litigation to date has involved workers who were exposed to much higher concentrations of asbestos for much longer durations of time than were the plaintiffs in the Johnson & Johnson cases, making the challenge for plaintiffs’ counsel proving to the jury that asbestos can cause mesothelioma even at the levels at which the plaintiffs’ in the talc-powder cases were exposed.

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• November 16, 2017

Plaintiff says Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder Caused Mesothelioma

On November 16, 2017, a jury in the Los Angeles Superior Court found against a plaintiff bringing a first-of-its-kind case seeking to establish that Johnson & Johnson talc-based products, including Johnson’s Baby Powder, contain asbestos, and that the asbestos contained in these products was the cause of the plaintiff’s mesothelioma. The plaintiff further alleged—based on internal company documents—that the pharmaceutical giant had known for decades that its talc-based products contained dangerous asbestos but had failed to act.

While Johnson & Johnson continues to face thousands of lawsuits across the country based on claims that its talc-based products have caused ovarian cancer in women, the southern California lawsuit was the first to base its case on the allegation that Johnson & Johnson for years knowingly sold to consumers products that contained asbestos, which has been closely linked with mesothelioma, a particularly deadly form of cancer. In a statement released after the jury’s verdict was announced, Johnson & Johnson applauded the outcome, while continuing to maintain that “[Johnson’s Baby Powder] does not contain asbestos or cause mesothelioma or ovarian cancer.”

Despite Johnson & Johnson’s assertions, the company continues to face a slew of lawsuits in venues across the country, mostly brought by female plaintiffs alleging that they were inadequately warned about the risk of developing ovarian cancer through their use of talc-related products. In four out of five trials conducted in the state of Missouri that involved women alleging their ovarian cancer was linked to Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based products, juries held Johnson & Johnson liable, and a jury in California found similarly, though one of the Missouri verdicts and the California verdict, which had awarded the now-deceased plaintiff $417 million, were thrown out on appeal.

Still, the overall trend is promising for those seeking to hold Johnson & Johnson to account. As Chris Panatier, attorney for the plaintiff in the Los Angeles mesothelioma case, told Reuters, “It is a matter of time before juries begin holding them [Johnson & Johnson] to account.”

Stay tuned to TheLawFirm.com for the latest updates on litigation involving the harms caused by Johnson & Johnson talc-based products. With over 5,000 lawsuits involving Johnson & Johnson talc-based products pending nationally, there are certain to be many new developments in this fast-changing area of litigation. If you believe you have suffered harm from the long-term use of Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder or other talc-based products, the expert attorneys at TheLawFirm.com are here to defend your rights and help you explore your legal alternatives.

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• October 26, 2017

Johnson & Johnson Gets Record-Setting $417 Million Talc Verdict Tossed

A judge in California has thrown out the $417 million jury award that had been granted to the plaintiff in a landmark talcum powder trial against Johnson & Johnson, finding that plaintiff Eva Echeverria relied on speculative expert testimony.

The judge ruled that Echeverria, who died soon after the trial ended in August in Los Angeles, failed to definitively link her terminal ovarian cancer to the talc in the Johnson & Johnson talcum powder products that she had used for decades for feminine hygiene. The judge also ruled that the punitive damages granted by the trial’s jury had not been warranted, as no malice was intended.

The testimony of witness Dr. Annie Yessaian was singled out as using “extremely limited,” speculative evidence in arguing for the plaintiff.

In a separate ruling, the judge granted Johnson & Johnson’s motion for a new trial. The effect of these twin rulings is that, even if the judge’s first decision is overturned by an appellate court, plaintiffs’ attorneys would likely have a difficult time reinstating the full $417 million verdict, and may instead have to retry the entire case.

The trial was the first to be heard in a group of six cases in a complex Multi-District Litigation (MDL) case against Johnson & Johnson, which plaintiffs accuse of knowingly making and marketing a carcinogenic product, and of failing to adequately warn consumers of the serious health risks of talcum powder products.

In the original trial, Echeverria was awarded $70 million in compensatory damages and $347 in punitive damages.

The recent ruling stands to complicate the already complex MDL case against Johnson & Johnson, which is ongoing in several states.

If you have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and you believe your cancer was caused by habitual use of improperly labeled talcum powder products, you may very well have a case – despite this recent ruling. This trial is ongoing and most cases have yet to be heard. Contact the expert attorneys at TheLawFirm.com to learn how we can help you with your talcum powder case.

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• October 23, 2017
people in courtroom

JOHNSON & JOHNSON ALLEDGES JUROR MISCONDUCT

Johnson & Johnson, the maker of talcum powder products that a Los Angeles jury recently found to be responsible for the terminal ovarian cancer of a plaintiff in a high-profile lawsuit, has filed motions to have the landmark $417 million verdict in that case overturned. 

The company argued that some of the jurors in the trial, who voted 9-3 against Johnson & Johnson, engaged in “misconduct” in the deliberations room. Statements from two of the three jurors who sided against J&J have been included in the company’s motions. Johnson & Johnson argues that some of the jurors exhibited undue “passion and prejudice” in reaching their verdict, and that some jurors were inappropriately left out of final deliberations. 

Damages Awarded To Plaintiff

The jury in the case awarded $70 million in damages to the plaintiff, Eva Echeverria, whose terminal condition prevented her from appearing in person to testify at her trial. On top of the $70 million award, the jury found Johnson & Johnson liable for $347 million in punitive damages. Together, those sums amount to what is by far the largest verdict against the company in the talc trials that have take place so far. 

The company argues that the monetary sum of the damages is excessive. 

Echeverria alleged that she developed ovarian cancer as a result of the habitual use, over several decades, of talcum powder and baby powder as a feminine hygiene product. She further alleged that Johnson & Johnson, though aware of the dangers of talc, promoted its products as “safe and gentle.” 

• September 28, 2017

Victorious Plaintiff Refutes Johnson & Johnson’s Bid for New Talc Trial

Eva Echeverria, the plaintiff with ovarian cancer who recently won a landmark $417 million lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson over the allegedly carcinogenic nature of the company’s talcum powder products, fired back against J&J after the medical device giant pushed for a new trial.

Johnson & Johnson has claimed that members of the jury that handed down the verdict engaged in “misconduct,” but Echeverria asserted that the company lost the trial because it was guilty of negligent conduct, not because a number of jurors discussed their decision-making process in a way that the company did not find favorable.

Echeverria, whose cancer is terminal and who was unable to appear in court for her own trial, further insisted that Johnson & Johnson received a fair trial, and prevailed on almost every motion during the trial.

Of the award, $70 million went to Echeverria for compensatory damages, and the remaining $347 million was assessed for punitive damages. That sum alone exceeds the total of the damages that Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay in a series of trials in Missouri. The damages were awarded on the grounds that the links between prolonged exposure to talcum powder, when it is used as a feminine hygiene product, causes ovarian cancer.

Echeverria’s case was the first of six Los Angeles talc cases to be heard. The remaining five suits in the complex Multi-District Litigation (MDL) case are slated to being in the coming months. Thousands of other such suits have also been filed against Johnson & Johnson.

• September 14, 2017

TALC MDL UPDATE

A federal court in New Jersey has announced the appointment of retired U.S. District Judge Joel Pisano as special master overseeing the state’s Multi-District Litigation (MDL) case in which several plaintiffs allege that Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder and baby powder products have caused ovarian and uterine cancer. 

The suits in the case, which were consolidated by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation (JPMDL) in October 2016, concern allegations not just that the talc in the named products may cause cancer, but that Johnson & Johnson manufactured, marketed, and distributed the products with full awareness of their potential health hazards. 

Pisano was appointed a U.S. Magistrate Judge in New Jersey in 1991, was appointed U.S. District Judge by President Bill Clinton in 2000, and retired in 2015. He currently works in private practice. Pisano’s judicial experience includes, among many other cases, the oversight of a MDL case over Merck’s osteoporosis drug Fosamax. 

• August 29, 2017
spilled baby powder

JOHNSON & JOHNSON SAYS TALC SAMPLES ARE LIMITED

Lawyers for Johnson & Johnson, the giant medial products company that is currently embroiled in a Multi-District Litigation (MDL) case over the allegedly carcinogenic nature of its talcum powder and baby powder products, have informed the judge overseeing the sprawling case that “historical” samples of the talc used in its products will soon run out if plaintiffs continue to request them for analysis. 

The declaration comes on the heels of a dozen upcoming requests for the samples from women who, as plaintiffs in the MDL, have stated that they are entitled to submit the samples to analysis to determine the allegedly carcinogenic nature of the talc in them. 

The plaintiffs have not yet formally requested the samples, but have indicated that they will do so soon. 

JJ& insists that it is not trying to deny plaintiffs access to the samples, but is instead asking the court to determine a fair method for their distribution, in light of their limited quantities. 

Plaintiffs have responded by saying that there is no reason why the samples would be destroyed in the testing process. 

Johnson & Johnson Lawsuit Fact

About 2000 suits in the MDL accuse Johnson & Johnson of knowingly manufacturing, marketing, and selling a dangerous product. Numerous clinical studies have linked the longtime application of talc as a feminine hygiene product to ovarian cancer. 
 

The company has recently lost four of five talc lawsuits in Missouri; in those, it was ordered to pay out more than $300 million in damages. More recently, Johnson & Johnson lost a record-setting case in California, in which it was ordered to pay $417 million in compensatory and punitive damages. 

• August 28, 2017

WOMEN IN JOHNSON & JOHNSON TALC CASE REQUEST SAMPLES

A group of New Jersey women involved in a Multi-District Litigation (MDL) case have requested samples of the talcum powder products over which they have filed their suits. 

In the hotly contested case, Johnson & Johnson, the maker of the talcum powder and baby powder that are at the heart of the lawsuit, has said that any samples of the product would necessarily be destroyed during the process that tests them for carcinogenic content. The plaintiffs allege that J&J has no proof that the samples will be destroyed in testing. 

Plaintiffs say that Johnson & Johnson has failed to explain any knowledge of the testing procedure, and that the company alleges that the plaintiffs have “conspired” with state courts to deny J&J the ability to test the products themselves. 

Indeed, the plaintiffs have not yet even formally requested any samples, which, should they be provided, the plaintiffs assert, would not be destroyed entirely in testing. 

Some 2000 cases are pending in the wide-ranging, closely watched MDL, in which the central allegation is that Johnson & Johnson’s talc-containing products are the cause of the plaintiffs’ cases of ovarian cancer. 

Johnson & Johnson has lost four or five talc trials in Missouri, and recently lost a $417 million decision in California over the talc-cancer link. 

• August 16, 2017

JURY TOLD OF DIRECT LINK BETWEEN TALC AND CANCER

The doctor who treated a plaintiff who is suing Johnson & Johnson over the alleged links between ovarian cancer and the talcum powder in the company’s products has testified that the talc caused the cancer, period. 

Dr. Annie Yessaian, oncologist and University of Southern California gynecology assistant professor and the doctor who treated plaintiff Eva Echeverria, further asserted that any studies that deny a link between talc and ovarian cancer are flawed. She said that such studies were scientifically irresponsible, especially in the ways in which they gathered their data. 

Dr. Yessaian testified that had Echeverria not used talcum powder and baby powder for decades as a feminine hygiene product, she would not have contracted ovarian cancer. 

Echeverria’s trial, currently underway in Los Angeles, is the first of six California talc trials. Echeverria is dying of ovarian cancer. 

Of five recent talc trials in St. Louis, J&J lost four, and has been ordered to pay out more than $300 million. 

The trial is expected to conclude at the end of the third week of August. 

• August 15, 2017

JURY IN TALC TRIAL HEARS THAT TALC DID NOT CAUSE WOMAN’S CANCER

Dr. Juan Felix, former director of pathology at the University of Southern California’s Women’s and Children’s Hospital, testified that talc particles would inflame internal tissue but would not cause cancer, and that Echeverria’s tissue was not inflamed. 

Members of the jury have heard several arguments to the contrary, as well, including that of a former Harvard University pathologist who asserted that Echeverria’s decades of using talc products for feminine hygiene had indeed sent talc particle to her ovaries, where they caused inflammation that led to cancer. 

Echeverria, along with six other women, filed a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson for marketing its talc products as “safe” and for causing their cases of ovarian cancer. 

Of five recent talc trials in St. Louis, Johnson & Johnson lost four, and has been ordered to pay out more than $300 million. 

Echeverria’s cancer is terminal, and she testified via video. The trial is scheduled to conclude by mid-August. 

• August 11, 2017

PLAINTIFF SURPRISED BY TALC CANCER DIAGNOSIS

Eva Echeverria, the lead plaintiff in a closely watched trial concerning the potentially carcinogenic nature of Johnson & Johnson’s talc-containing products, testified that, because she had never seen a warning label on Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder or Shower to Shower products, she was surprised to have been diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer. 

Echeverria, who in January was given six months to live, testified via video. She stated that she used Johnson’s Baby Powder as a feminine hygiene product for more than five decades, and would never have done so had she known it had the potential to cause ovarian cancer. Echeverria even continued to use the product after her 2007 cancer diagnosis because nothing suggested that the product and her cancer were in any way linked. She only ceased the use of the product after learning of the alleged talc-cancer in 2016. 

Echeverria testified that she suffers from pain in her liver and kidneys, sleeplessness, extreme fatigue, nausea, and headaches. 

Of the five recent trials in Missouri over the alleged links between talcum powder products and ovarian cancer, Johnson & Johnson lost four, and has been ordered to pay out more than $300 million. 

The company maintains that its talc products are safe. 

• August 7, 2017

JURY IN BABY POWDER TRIAL TOLD THAT WOMAN’S OVARIES CONTAINED TALC

John Godleski, who recently retired from Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, provided expert testimony on behalf of plaintiff Eva Echeverria to the effect that he found significant amounts of talc in tissue samples from Echeverria’s ovaries. 

Godleski stressed that the number of talc particles that he found (11) is likely to be indicative of a greater number of particles in the totality of the ovarian tissue, and that the talc was “unlikely” to have been introduced into Echeverria’s body any way other than vaginally. 

Echeverria, along with six other women, has filed a closely watched lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson; Echeverria’s is the first to go to trial, in large part because she is dying of ovarian cancer. The suit concerns the potential health hazards of the talc contained in J&J’s baby powder and talcum powder products, which the company has promoted for decades as safe for daily use as feminine hygiene products. 

In five recent talc trials in the state of Missouri, Johnson & Johnson has a 1-4 won/lost record, and has been ordered to pay out over $300 million. 

The trial continues in Los Angeles. 

• August 7, 2017

TALC LINKED TO OVARIAN CANCER IN CALIFORNIA TRIAL

An expert in epidemiology has testified in a California court that women who routinely use talcum powder products have higher-than-usual rates of ovarian cancer. 

Jack Siemiatycki, of the University of Montreal and McGill University, testified that, in his studies of the links between talc and ovarian cancer, he has found that talc is likely to cause cancer. 

Siemiatycki spoke on behalf of Eva Echeverria, the lead plaintiff in a complex Multi-District Litigation (MDL) case against Johnson and Johnson over the alleged links between ovarian cancer and the talc contained in the company’s baby powder and talcum powder products. Echeverria’s ovarian cancer is terminal. 

Echeverria’s suit is one of seven that will be heard in the California courts. J&J lost three of four Missouri trials, and has been ordered to pay more than $300 million in damages. The company continues to stand its ground that its talc-containing products are safe. 

The closely watched trial is currently proceeding in Los Angeles. 

• July 31, 2017

EXPERT TESTIFIES IN JOHNSON & JOHNSON TRIAL THAT TALC IS TOXIC

Laura Plunkett, a toxicologist and pharmacologist who testified in several of the Johnson & Johnson talc trials in Missouri, took the stand in the ongoing talc trial in California to assert that talc is toxic and carcinogenic. 

The closely watched trial is the result of a lawsuit by Eva Echeverria, who alleges that her terminal case of ovarian cancer was caused by her prolonged use of talcum powder as a feminine hygiene product, a usage that the product’s manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson, has long promoted as “safe.” 

Plunkett testified that talc can migrate through the vagina to the ovaries, where it can cause chronic inflammation that can lead to cancer. She further argued that ovarian cancer cases are most common when a small amount of talc is introduced on a regular basis over an extended period of time. 

Many hundreds of cases in the Multi-District Litigation (MDL) case are pending; Echeverria’s is being heard first because her doctors have given her only months to live. Central to her allegations is that J&J knew of the dangers of talc but concealed them from the public. 

Johnson & Johnson lost several talc trials in Missouri; the company has been ordered to pay verdicts amounting to more than $300 million. 

• July 27, 2017

JURY TOLD THAT JOHNSON & JOHNSON CONCEALED TALC RISKS TO PROTECT ITS IMAGE

In the opening statements in the highly anticipated California trial over Johnson & Johnson’s liability in manufacturing, marketing, and selling allegedly carcinogenic talc-based products, jury members heard the lawyer for plaintiff Eva Echeverria argue that the company deliberately concealed the dangers of talcum powder in order to protect its “safe and gentle” image. 

Central to the arguments was that J&J was criminally negligent in failing to include a warning label on its talcum powder and baby powder products that stated that the talc in them had been linked to cases of ovarian cancer. 

Numerous clinical studies, plaintiff’s counsel Allen Smith stated, have demonstrated the clear links between the prolonged use of talcum powder as a feminine hygiene product and an increased risk of ovarian cancer. 

Echeverria has been diagnosed with a terminal case of ovarian cancer, and for that reason her case has been given priority in a series of cases in a Multi-District Lawsuit (MDL) about the cancer risks of talcum powder. Five other trials will take place after Echeverria’s. 

In a string of courtroom losses in Missouri, Johnson & Johnson has been ordered to pay out over $300 million to women whose ovarian cancer, courts found, had been caused at least in part by the repeated use of talcum powder products. 

The closely watched trial is expected to continue for some weeks. 

• July 21, 2017
lawyer and jury

JURORS WON’T HEAR OF ALLEGED JOHNSON & JOHNSON CONSPIRACY IN TALC TRIAL

A judge refused to allow the plaintiff in the upcoming trial about the alleged health hazards posed Johnson & Johnson’s talc products to state in opening arguments that the company “conspired” to prevent warning labels from being affixed to its baby powder and talcum powder products. 

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Maren Nelson stated that plaintiff Eva Echeverria, who alleges that her terminal ovarian cancer has been caused by prolonged use of Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based products for feminine hygiene, lacked sufficient evidence to make the claims that J & J conspired with its talc supplier, Imerys Talc America, to persuade the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) not to regulate those products. 

Judge Nelson last week dismissed Echeverria’s suit against Imerys, stating that talc is an “inherently safe” product. 

Echeverria’s case against Johnson & Johnson is the first in a series of upcoming talc cases to be heard in a California court. Echeverria has been given by her doctors only months to live, so her trial was scheduled to take place first. 

Of five recent talc trials in Missouri, Johnson & Johnson lost four of them, and has been ordered by juries to pay out more than $300 million in damages. 

Jury selection for Echeverria’s trial is slated to commence on July 21. 

• July 18, 2017

JUDGE TOSSES JOHNSON & JOHNSON TALC SUIT IN NEW JERSEY

A federal judge in New Jersey has tossed a proposed class action suit against Johnson & Johnson over the potential links between ovarian cancer and its talc-based products. 

Judge Freda Wolfson tossed the case because Mona Estrada, who had filed it, had not proven that she had suffered or will suffer any injuries from using Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products. 

Judge Wolfson also ruled that Estrada had not proven that Johnson & Johnson was legally obligated to disclose the risks associated with its talcum powder and/or baby powder products; to this, Estrada replied that she had been purchasing and using the products for feminine hygiene for some 65 years, since well before the time that such warnings would have been disclosed. 

Johnson & Johnson has lost four or five talc lawsuits in the state of Missouri, and is currently enmeshed in another talc trial in California. So far, the company has had to pay out more than $300 million in settlements. 

Estrada has been given 30 days to amend her complaint. 

• July 17, 2017

JUDGE RULES ON PARTICIPATION OF EXPERT WITNESS IN TALC TRIAL

A federal judge in Los Angeles has ruled that defendant Johnson & Johnson cannot prevent an expert witness from testifying on behalf of a plaintiff in a closely watched trail about the links between the company’s talc-based products and ovarian cancer. 

Judge Maren Nelson ruled that gynecologist Annie Yessaian may testify on behalf of Eva Echeverria, so long as Dr. Yessaian confirms that her opinions on the links between talc and ovarian cancer has remained unchanged since a recent court proceeding. Judge Nelson had previously prevented another plaintiff’s witness, Harvard epidemiologist Daniel Cramer, from testifying on behalf of Echeverria because he admitted that his opinion was based on studies that used an unreliable methodology. 

Legal experts are watching Echeverria’s trial closely, as it is a bellwether trial that stands to establish a legal precedent in cases concerning the potential cancer risks of products that Johnson & Johnson has long promoted as “safe” and “harmless.” 

Echeverria is dying of ovarian cancer, and has been given several months to live. For this reason, her trial is the first is an upcoming series of talc trials to be heard. Five other suits are pending. 

Echeverria’s trial in California follows five talc-cancer trials in Missouri. Johnson & Johnson won one of those trials but lost the other four, and was ordered by the courts to pay settlements of more than $300 million. 

• July 17, 2017

Judge Grants Talc Supplier a Pass in Johnson & Johnson Ovarian Cancer Trial

In a reversal from a previous tentative ruling, a California judge dismissed talc supplier Imerys from an upcoming trial concerning the ovarian cancer risks surrounding Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based feminine hygiene products.

Judge Maren Nelson opined that Imerys could not be sued for supplying Johnson & Johnson with an “inherently safe” product. That opinion is a reversal of Nelson’s earlier, tentative ruling that indicated Imerys would be required to stand trial for at least some of the charges leveled against it.

Attorneys for plaintiff Eva Echeverria, who alleges her terminal ovarian cancer has been caused by her prolonged use of Johnson & Johnson’s purportedly “safe” talcum powder products, urged the judge to reconsider. Yet Nelson held that, even if Imerys was aware of a cancer risk if talc is used for a prolonged time on the female genitals, the ingredient itself is, for general purposes, safe.

Echeverria’s trial is due to start within the week, in part because her terminal cancer means that she will not be able to testify if the trial is pushed back. Echeverria has been given six months to live.

In a related ruling, Judge Nelson denied a motion by Johnson & Johnson to keep Echeverria’s expert witnesses from testifying.

Johnson & Johnson has lost several high-profile cases in the state of Missouri, for which the pharmaceutical giant has been ordered to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. The upcoming trial in California is a high-stakes event for the company, whose talcum powder and baby powder products have come under fire recently for their alleged links to ovarian cancer.

If you have ovarian cancer, and you have used talcum powder or baby powder for an extended period of time, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation. Contact TheLawFirm.com to learn how to join the case against Johnson & Johnson.

• July 6, 2017

JUDGE RULES THAT TALC SUPPLIER MUST STAND TRIAL

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge has tentatively ruled that Imerys Talc, a major miner and supplier of the talc used in Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder and baby powder products, must stand trial in an upcoming case concerning allegations that talc can cause ovarian cancer. The ruling stated that Imerys had reason to know that talc could cause cancer. 

The plaintiff in the case is Eva Echeverria, who alleges that her prolonged use of Johnson & Johnson talc-based products as part of a feminine hygiene regimen was responsible for the terminal case of ovarian cancer from which she now suffers. Echeverria has been given six months to live. 

The ruling stated that, because talc had been listed by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as a potential carcinogen, Imerys Talc was or should have been aware of talc’s potential hazards, and must therefore participate in the highly anticipated upcoming trial. 

Johnson & Johnson has lost several large verdicts in talc trials in the state of Missouri. The upcoming trial in California stands to be one that sets a legal precedent. Talc cases are currently working their way through the courts in other states, as well. 

Lawsuit Verdicts and settlements

courtroom jury box

JOHNSON & JOHNSON GETS RECORD-SETTING $417 MILLION TALC VERDICT TOSSED

October 26, 2017
A judge in California has thrown out the $417 million jury award that had been granted to the plaintiff in a landmark talcum powder trial against Johnson & Johnson, finding that plaintiff Eva Echeverria relied on speculative expert testimony. 

The judge ruled that Echeverria, who died soon after the trial ended in August in Los Angeles, failed to definitively link her terminal ovarian cancer to the talc in the Johnson & Johnson talcum powder products that she had used for decades for feminine hygiene. The judge also ruled that the punitive damages granted by the trial’s jury had not been warranted, as no malice was intended. 

The testimony of witness Dr. Annie Yessaian was singled out as using “extremely limited,” speculative evidence in arguing for the plaintiff. 

In a separate ruling, the judge granted Johnson & Johnson’s motion for a new trial. The effect of these twin rulings is that, even if the judge’s first decision is overturned by an appellate court, plaintiffs’ attorneys would likely have a difficult time reinstating the full $417 million verdict, and may instead have to retry the entire case. 

The trial was the first to be heard in a group of six cases in a complex Multi-District Litigation (MDL) case against Johnson & Johnson, which plaintiffs accuse of knowingly making and marketing a carcinogenic product, and of failing to adequately warn consumers of the serious health risks of talcum powder products. 

In the original trial, Echeverria was awarded $70 million in compensatory damages and $347 in punitive damages. 

The recent ruling stands to complicate the already complex MDL case against Johnson & Johnson, which is ongoing in several states.

johnson & johnson logo

JOHNSON & JOHNSON FOUND GUILTY IN TALC CASE, ORDERED TO PAY RECORD $417 MILLION

August 21, 2017
After two days of deliberations, the jury in a closely watched California trial over the allegedly carcinogenic nature of Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products has returned with a stunning verdict: the corporation must pay $417 million for its role in causing a woman’s terminal cancer. 

The jury found that Johnson & Johnson had failed to warn consumers about the risk of ovarian cancer connected with its Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower talc products, and that the terminal ovarian cancer of plaintiff Eva Echeverria was caused by her prolonged use of those products. 

The $417 million penalty – $70 million to Echeverria in compensatory damages; $347 million in punitive damages – sets a new high-water mark for talc lawsuits. The company had lost four of five recent trials in St. Louis; the sum of the damages awarded in those five cases was about $300 million. 

Five more talcum powder lawsuits are pending against Johnson & Johnson in the California courts. 

The corporation’s defense strategy focused largely on discrediting the expert witnesses who testified for the plaintiffs, but it was not sufficient to persuade the jury of Johnson & Johnson’s innocence. 

Echeverria’s victory is tempered by the fact that she is dying of ovarian cancer, and has been given only months to live by her doctors. 

johnson & johnson logo

JOHNSON & JOHNSON LOSES FIFTH TALCUM POWDER TRIAL

June 8, 2017
A St. Louis courtroom was the setting for Johnson & Johnson’s fifth major loss in its ongoing series of trials concerning its talcum powder products. The pharmaceutical giant was found guilty of negligence, and has been ordered to pay a Virginia woman more than $110 million in compensatory and punitive damages. 

The jury found that Lois Slemp, 62, had developed ovarian cancer at least in part because of her prolonged use of talcum powder products that Johnson & Johnson had marketed and promoted as safe. Slemp is currently undergoing her second round of chemotherapy treatment for her cancer. 

The loss is the fifth in six talcum-powder cases for Johnson & Johnson. In previous decisions, the company has been ordered to pay multiple awards in the tens of millions of dollars. 

This most recent trial stands out for the two-pronged nature of the plaintiff’s cancer. Slemp’s reproductive organs were found to contain not only talc particles, but asbestos, another substance that can cause cancer. Some talc products are known to be contaminated with this dangerous material. 

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