CMBG3 Law previously reported on four trials that have taken place in which it was alleged that Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder contained asbestos-contaminated talc, which led to the development of plaintiffs’ mesothelioma. Three of the cases have seen verdicts within the last month alone – South Carolina (mistrial), New Jersey ($25.7 million verdict), and California ($117 million verdict). The fourth trial took place a few months ago and resulted in a defense verdict.
Plaintiff, Ilene Brick, contends that she used Johnson & Johnson talcum powder daily for five decades and asbestos-contaminated talc in the product caused her to develop mesothelioma at age 94. Johnson & Johnson contends, however, that Brick’s use of Kent cigarettes, which for a few years in the 1950s were manufactured with an asbestos-containing filter, caused her disease, as there is no evidence that the talc that Johnson & Johnson used ever contained asbestos.
As in previous trials with Johnson & Johnson and Iimerys, it is anticipated that the jury will be shown studies from Johnson & Johnson showing that the talc used in the company’s talcum powder products was never contaminated with asbestos fibers. Johnson & Johnson will also point to studies conducted on Italian workers at the company’s talc mines and mills in Italy, which found no cases of mesothelioma among the workers. Nor were there any cases of mesothelioma found among Johnson & Johnson’s workers at its talc mines in Vermont. One of the more significant issues at trial will be whether tremolite fibers found in samples of Johnson & Johnson talc were asbestos fibers or non-asbestos fibers. The distinction between the two fiber types is complex and relies heavily on scientific principles that the jury will hear extensive testimony about.
Plaintiff is expected to counter with expert testimony that the samples tested of Johnson & Johnson baby powder did, in fact, contain asbestos. They will also presented evidence that they allege shows that Johnson & Johnson knew of the hazards of asbestos and failed to warn the public or take steps to find alternates (such as corn starch) for the talcum powder.
The attorneys at CMBG3 Law LLC have represented clients in talc, products liability, and toxic tort matters for many years. We provide the most current advice by staying informed of legal, scientific and medical developments regarding a wide variety of substances and products, including talc-containing products, used by consumers every day. If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact John Gardella (email him or 617-279-8225).