Author: Mitch Grissim, Esq.
The knowledge that there is a direct link between talcum or baby powder and cancer is relatively new, as far as public awareness goes, but there’s already a major push-back against companies that manufacture this material. It’s suspected that baby powder companies like Johnson & Johnson have known for a long time about the dangers of talc, and have failed to stop using it or to warn consumers of its danger.
A recent lawsuit has seen a New Jersey couple win $37 million in a lawsuit related to the cancer-causing properties of baby powder. This lawsuit is somewhat unique in that the victim claimed the baby powder produced by Johnson & Johnson is laced with asbestos and resulted in him contracting mesothelioma after using the product for more than 30 years.
A Landmark Case
Talcum powder lawyers for the victim in this case claim that over his 30 years of using the Johnson & Johnson baby powder, he was constantly breathing in asbestos particles. This, in turn, resulted in him contracting mesothelioma, a deadly type of lung cancer. The Jury agreed with the victim and found Johnson & Johnson 70% responsible for his illness, and a division of Imerys, the French talc supplier, responsible for the remaining 30%.
This was the first time J&J has been brought to trial in its home state of New Jersey. In fact, the trial was held just a mile away from the J&H headquarters. While the company is currently fighting thousands of lawsuits claiming that there’s a connection between its talc and ovarian cancer, this is the first case involving asbestos and mesothelioma to come to court.
Asbestos and Talc
Talcum powder itself is not a known carcinogen—it’s comprised of magnesium, oxygen, and silicon. However, deposits are often also found near asbestos deposits, meaning that it can become easily contaminated during mining operations. According to talcum powder manufacturers, asbestos has been kept out of baby powder since the 1970s.
Johnson & Johnson is denying the charges and still claims that their powder does not contain asbestos, and does not cause cancer. Their claim is that the victim contracted mesothelioma from other sources, pointing out asbestos-wrapped pipes in his former home and that the public schools he attended were asbestos-contaminated.
Johnson & Johnson has declined to comment in detail on the case, as jury deliberations are ongoing, and the trial’s second phase begins on Tuesday. This phase is to consider possible punitive damages against the manufacturer. In addition, J&J is facing lawsuits related to its talc products that comprise 6,610 plaintiffs all around the country, according to Reuters.
The claims generally revolve around the accusation that the company failed to warn about the risk of ovarian cancer associated with its products when used for feminine hygiene. Just this October, a $417 million verdict was handed down to a woman who claimed she got ovarian cancer from these products.
Product Liability Cases
The talc cases against Johnson & Johnson are a primary example of product liability in action. Companies that manufacture products, whether it’s baby powder, pharmaceuticals, or a toaster for your kitchen, have a responsibility to keep their products relatively safe, or to properly warn customers of any potential dangers.
Products that become tainted during manufacture or shipment before they reach the hands of the client, products that have dangerous side effects which the company knows exists but doesn’t warn about, and products that fail to include proper instructions for their use, are all examples of defective products. When someone gets hurt using one of these products, they can file a lawsuit to collect damages. This is called a product liability case.
Pursuing a Defective Product Claim
Usually, when someone files a product injury case, they combine a number of factors from the different kinds of cases. A talcum powder lawyer pursuing a J&J case, for example, may be claiming that the company’s product is tainted with asbestos, that the company knew it was dangerous to use, and that they failed to warn consumers about this danger, or provide instructions for avoiding the danger.
Hiring a Talcum Powder Lawyer
Of course, the companies involved in these cases tend to be very powerful with good attorneys of their own, and it’s important to have someone in your corner who can help you fight back. That’s why you need a Massachusetts talcum powder lawyer to take up your case. If you’re facing the consequences of a talc product and need help getting compensation, contact Jim Glaser Law for a free consultation today.
About The Author
Mitch Grissim is the managing partner of Mitch Grissim & Associates, and is a highly regarded personal injury attorney in Nashville, Tennessee. Mitch is a graduate of Vanderbilt University as well as the Nashville School of Law and has been practicing personal injury law since 1981.