Mesothelioma Court Case Against Johnson and Johnson Being Heard in Pasadena Courtroom

Published : Saturday, October 7, 2017 | 5:23 AM

A Pasadena Courtroom of the Superior Court of California in Los Angeles County is the scene of an important lawsuit with implications for thousands filed by a California woman who alleges she developed mesothelioma – a type of cancer that develops from the mesothelium, the thin layer of tissue that covers many of the body’s internal organs – from breathing in baby powder and other talcum products manufactured by cosmetics firm Johnson and Johnson, between 1956 and 1993.

The case, filed in January, alleges that Johnson and Johnson’s talc powder may have been contaminated with asbestos.

A report by asbestos.com Tuesday said the case is the first asbestos-related lawsuit against Johnson and Johnson. Asbestos.com is a website and advocacy group that helps the victims of asbestos exposure and their loved ones.

Before this case, courts have issued several notable asbestos-related verdicts against other talc manufacturers, the report said.

In April 2015, a California woman won a $13 million lawsuit against Colgate-Palmolive. The jury ruled the plaintiff, Judith Winkel, developed mesothelioma from asbestos in the company’s Cashmere Bouquet talcum powder.

That same year, a New York jury awarded $10.55 million in a wrongful death case against R.T. Vanderbilt.

In 2016, a Los Angeles Superior Court jury awarded Philip Depoian $18 million against talc supplier Whittaker, Clark and Daniels. It remains the largest verdict for mesothelioma linked to talcum powder.

After trial, the jury ruled Depoian developed mesothelioma after he was exposed to asbestos-contaminated talc his father brought home from working in a barber shop.

While failure-to-warn lawsuits have been filed against asbestos insulation manufacturers, who intentionally added the toxic mineral to products, the cases against talc companies point to negligence among the manufacturers and distributors of talc powder products who reportedly failed to detect a deadly contaminant and false ensured a product’s safety.

Judge C. Edward Simpson is hearing the Pasadena Courtroom case.

Prosecution lawyer Chris J. Panatier, who won the Winkel vs. Colgate-Palmolive case in 2015, is handling the Pasadena Courtroom prosecution.

The Asbestos.com report said recently unsealed documents from the lawsuit revealed Johnson and Johnson has known for decades that its talc products may have contained deadly asbestos fibers.

The company has marketed their talcum powders as safe for daily feminine hygiene use, but multiple scientific studies have surfaced linking these products with ovarian cancer, the report said.

Based upon these findings, and a lack of any warning, at least 5,500 lawsuits have been filed, and five verdicts since 2016 have awarded women over $724 million in damages.

Considered one of the world’s softest minerals and coveted for its ability to absorb moisture, talc has been mined from deposits interwoven with asbestos fibers.

Inhaling or ingesting asbestos fibers can lead to serious diseases, including asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma, according to the American Cancer Society.

Some studies suggest asbestos fibers can accumulate in the ovaries of women, potentially leading to ovarian cancer, the Asbestos.com report said. Using talc products on the genitals could be to blame, but there is still much debate regarding exposure pathways, the report added.

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