Hawaii families suing Monsanto over children’s birth defects

Thornton Law Firm Files Hawaii Lawsuit Against Monsanto for Pregnant Mothers’ Exposures to Pesticides Resulting in Birth Defects

Thornton Law Firm, together with co-counsel Waters Kraus & Paul, Galiher DeRobertis and Waxman, and Phillips & Paolicelli, filed a first of its kind lawsuit against Monsanto in Hawaii state court on October 24, 2019. The case is filed on behalf of two families whose babies were born with severe birth defects as the result of exposure to toxic pesticides and herbicides used in fields in the town of Kihei, Maui. 

The families both live in the same neighborhood downwind and within a few hundred yards of Monsanto’s large genetically engineered (GE) seed facility in Kihei. In order to test the GE seeds resistance to pesticides, Monsanto sprayed a series of toxic pesticides known as Restricted Use Pesticides on these fields. Toxic pesticides and herbicides were used on those fields for decades. The complaint alleges that the prevailing, constant Maui winds caused those pesticides to drift into the neighboring community of Kihei — where the mothers of the two plaintiffs were exposed to them while pregnant.

Hawaii and pesticides

Hawaii is the epicenter for the growing of genetically-modified seeds – known as GMOs, genetically modified organisms – and the testing of the pesticides used on those seeds. Monsanto grows GMO seeds, and then grows test crops planted using those seeds. Because of its year-round moderate climate, Hawaii hosts more experimental genetically engineered (GE) crop field tests than anywhere else in the United States.  As a result, Hawaiians are at risk for exposure to pesticides in the communities where they live, work, and play.

The injuries suffered by the children are severe.  One of the children was born with her throat detached from her esophagus, which required her to undergo multiple surgeries as an infant. That condition requires her to utilize a tracheostomy tube to this day. The other child suffers from severe kidney issues that have required various surgeries and resulted in a severe form of ADHD. Birth defects such as these and others have been closely linked to the exposure of pregnant mothers to toxic pesticides.

The lawsuit also includes claims against Alexander & Baldwin, a landowner that grew sugarcane near the plaintiffs’ neighborhoods. Growing sugarcane also involved using toxic pesticides that drifted into the neighboring community.

For additional coverage, please visit the links below:

Suit blames birth defects in Maui community on Monsanto chemicals

Lawsuit claims Monsanto caused birth defects in Maui neighborhood

We Are Here To Help

Thornton Law Firm is a nationwide leader in groundbreaking litigation representing children born with catastrophic birth defects from the toxic exposures of their parents. The parents of these children were exposed to glycol ethers in semiconductor “clean rooms,” pesticides in agriculture, and a variety of chemicals used in manufacturing. Since 2014, Thornton Law Firm has obtained settlements in excess of $100 million in cases involving pregnant women in the environment or the workplace who were exposed to ethylene glycol ethers, coal ash, pesticides, and other hazardous substances and subsequently had children born with catastrophic birth defects. Partners David C. Strouss and Evan R. Hoffman are leading the effort in Hawaii to hold Monsanto and others accountable for the harm caused by pregnant mothers’ exposures to harmful pesticides.

$37M Verdict in NJ Talc Mesothelioma Trial

A Middlesex County New Jersey jury awarded four sets of plaintiffs $37 million dollars against Johnson & Johnson for mesothelioma caused by talc baby powder. The consolidated trial lasted almost three months, and at the end, the judge struck the Johnson & Johnson attorney’s entire closing argument, ruling that the attorney had made improper comments on the evidence.

The jury’s unanimous verdict was that all of the plaintiffs had been exposed to asbestos by using Johnson and Johnson’s baby powder and Shower to Shower talcum powders contaminated with asbestos. The jury also unanimously ruled that J&J failed to warn the plaintiffs about the dangers of its talcum body powders. In a 5-1 vote, the jury ruled that those actions caused the plaintiffs’ mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a rare and fatal cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.

The award is for compensatory damages only. Punitive damages may be awarded in a separate phase of the trial. Plaintiffs Douglas Barden and his wife, Roslyn Barden were awarded $7.25 million; David Etheridge and his wife, Darlene Etheridge were awarded $9.45 million; D’Angela McNeill was awarded $14.7 million; and William Ronning and his wife, Elizabeth Ronning. were awarded $5.9 million.

Johnson & Johnson had previously asked for a mistrial based on the trial judge striking its counsel’s closing argument from the record; after the verdict was announced, Johnson & Johnson said they intend to appeal the decision. Johnson & Johnson faces over 10,000 talc-related cancer claims in both federal and state courts. The Securities and Exchange Commission and the United States Department of Justice subpoenaed Johnson & Johnson in February for documents on talc powder safety. This followed a Reuters report published in December of 2018 entitled “Special Report: J&J knew for decades that asbestos lurked in its Baby Powder”.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer – either mesothelioma or ovarian cancer – after using talcum powder (including Johnson & Johnson’s Shower to Shower Powder, baby powder, Colgate’s Cashmere Bouquet, or Avon’s body powder products), you may have a legal claim for damages. Call Thornton Law Firm’s female mesothelioma attorneys,  Leah McMorris or Leslie-Anne Taylor for a free, no obligation evaluation of your legal claim at 1-888-341-1405. Or tell us your story here. Seek legal advice immediately if you believe you may have a claim. Like all lawsuits, baby powder lawsuits must be filed within strict time limits.

Leo Santa Maria Memorial Scholarships Awarded

Local 6 25th Annual Retirees Dinner

Congratulations to the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Asbestos Workers Local 6, Boston, MA on the occasion of their 25th annual retirees’ luncheon held at The Lantana, Randolph, MA on August 21, 2019.  Thornton Law Firm was honored to be on hand to celebrate and reminisce with retirees and their loved ones.  To cap off the afternoon, Mike Thornton was privileged to present Leo Santa Maria Memorial Scholarship awards to two retirees to help fund the education of their family members.  Leo Santa Maria was a longtime officer of Local 6. A kind and generous man, Leo is remembered for his great sense of humor and his devotion to his family and his union. Thornton Law Firm established a scholarship fund in his name to honor his memory and service to Local 6.

Michael Thornton and Joan Santa Maria
Local 6 25th Annual Retirees Dinner
Local 6 25th Annual Retirees Dinner

Claire’s Recalls Makeup Containing Asbestos

Claire's makeup recall

By Leah McMorris, Esq. and Leslie-Anne Taylor, Esq.

Published on June 26, 2019

This month the mall retailer Claire’s was forced to voluntarily recall a makeup kit marketed to pre-teens and teenagers after Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tests showed the presence of asbestos. The product, Claire’s JoJo Siwa’s Tween Makeup Set, is  the subject of a June 6, 2019 Safety Alert by the FDA. This was the second recall of makeup products containing asbestos by Claire’s in the last three months.

The FDA recommends on its website that consumers who have this batch of Claire’s JoJo Siwa Tween Makeup Set should stop using the products, and the company said it will issue refunds to consumers. The specific lot affected is:

  • Claire’s JoJo Siwa Makeup Set, SKU #888711136337, Batch/Lot No. S180109

In the same statement, the Food and Drug Administration also recalled products from Beauty Plus Global, a Chinese company. The specific product of theirs recalled was Beauty Plus Global Contour Effects Palette 2, Batch No. S1603002/PD-C1179.

Claire’s History of Asbestos-Tainted Product Recalls

Claire’s products have been scrutinized since 2017 when a Rhode Island mom had her daughter’s makeup from Claire’s tested and was shocked to find that it contained asbestos. In all Claire’s issued recalls on nine (9) of its products at that time:

  • Ultimate Mega Make Up Set, code 71844.
  • Metallic Hot Pink Glitter 48-Piece Makeup Set, code 76094.
  • Pink Glitter Cellphone Makeup Compact, code 26556.
  • Bedazzled Rainbow Heart Makeup Set, code 11767.
  • Rainbow Bedazzled Star Make Up Set, code 20926.
  • Rainbow Glitter Heart Shaped Makeup Set, code 97275.
  • Mint Glitter Make Up Set, code 74769.
  • Rainbow Bedazzled Rectangle Make Up Set, code 21044.
  • Pink Glitter Palette with Eyeshadow & Lip Gloss, code 97276.

In March of this year, Claire’s recalled another three makeup products after FDA testing found that the products were contaminated with tremolite asbestos.  Tremolite, an amphibole form of asbestos, is often present in talc, an ingredient often used in cosmetics.

The lots recalled for containing asbestos in March 2019 were:

  • Claire’s Eye Shadows — Batch No/Lot No: 08/17
  • Claire’s Compact Powder — Batch No/Lot No: 07/15
  • Claire’s Contour Palette — Batch No/Lot No: 04/17

When the first recall occurred in 2017, Claire’s disputed the validity of the asbestos tests performed by the independent testing agencies, Scientific Analytical Institute (SAI) and STAT Analysis Corporation (STAT). Despite this, in March of this year Claire’s issued a statement stating that it has switched to talc-free manufacturing for all its products.

Talc and Health

Talc has been implicated in the development of cancer. Both ovarian cancer and mesothelioma are associated with the use of cosmetic talc.  Mesothelioma, a cancer that is only caused by asbestos, is probably caused by the asbestos contaminant in talc. Exposure to cosmetic talc is associated with ovarian cancer, although scientists are not exactly sure of how it causes cancer. To read more on talc and cancer, click here.

What Can You Do?

You must check your children’s makeup products for the presence of talc. Talc may be described on a label as talc, talcum powder, magnesium silicate, or cosmetic talc. The FDA does not have pre-market review authority and cannot enforce any recall over cosmetics. Unfortunately, because of this regulatory gap, there is no federal agency with primary responsibility for regulating asbestos or talc in makeup.

First Joint J&J, Colgate Talc Mesothelioma Trial: $12M Verdict

By Leah M. McMorris, Esq. and Leslie-Anne Taylor, Esq.

Published on June 13, 2019

A California state court jury awarded $12 million dollars in damages to a 72-year old woman dying of mesothelioma.  The jury found that it was more likely than not that Johnson & Johnson’s Shower to Shower and Colgate’s Cashmere Bouquet talc powders contained the carcinogen asbestos, and that the asbestos in those powders caused Schmitz’s cancer.   Johnson & Johnson and Colgate are responsible for almost $10 million of that award.  The jury voted in plaintiff Patricia Schmitz’s favor on her claims of negligence, design defect, failure to warn and concealment, but they were unable to reach a decision on whether punitive damages were warranted, or on her claim that J&J intentionally misrepresented its powders as “pure”. This is the 11th verdict against Johnson and Johnson in a baby powder claim.

Patricia Schmitz, a former fifth grade teacher, testified that she used Johnson & Johnson and Colgate body powders for most of her life. Specifically, she said that she used either J&J’s baby powder or Colgate-Palmolive’s Cashmere Bouquet after showering. She also testified that she purchased Avon’s Night Magic talc powder as a young woman.

The jury awarded a total of $12 million damages to Ms. Schmitz, and allocated 40% of the responsibility for her damages to Johnson & Johnson, and another 40% of the responsibility to Colgate. Avon was allocated 20% of the responsibility, but they were not a defendant at trial.

The case is captioned as Schmitz v. Johnson & Johnson, No. RG18923615, Superior Court of the State of California, Alameda County (Oakland). J&J and Colgate both announced plans to appeal the verdict. Schmidt’s trial counsel said that he would appeal the jury’s failure to award punitive damages.

Johnson & Johnson face an additional 14,000 talc-related cancer claims according to a May regulatory filing. In February, J&J received subpoenas from the Securities and Exchange Commission and the United States Department of Justice seeking documents on the safety of its talc powders.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer after using Johnson & Johnson or Colgate talc powders (including Shower to Shower Powder, baby powder, or Cashmere Bouquet), you may have a legal claim for damages. Call Thornton Law Firm’s female mesothelioma attorneys,  Leah McMorris or Leslie-Anne Taylor for a confidential, free  evaluation of your legal claim at 1-888-341-1405. Or tell us your story here to discuss your legal rights and how you should proceed. Do not delay seeking legal advice. Like all legal claims, talc powder lawsuits have short time limits within which they must be filed.

 

J&J Hit With $300 Million Punitives Award in Talc Mesothelioma Case

A New York state court jury ruled in favor of a woman in her suit against Johnson & Johnson alleging her mesothelioma was caused by her many years of exposure to J&J’s asbestos-containing talc powder. The jury awarded plaintiff Donna Olson, 66, and husband Robert Olson $25 million in compensatory damages –  $20 million for her pain and suffering, and $5 million for his loss of consortium. The jury also found Johnson & Johnson’s conduct was wanton and reckless, warranting an award of $300 million in punitive damages.

The lawsuit was filed in 2017, alleging daily use of J&J’s baby powder and scented Shower to Shower products from 1953 through 2015. Donna Olson was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma in 2016. As part of her treatment, one of her lungs was removed. She was too ill to attend the trial. Her husband testified that it was her daily ritual to use Johnson and Johnson’s baby powder after she showered.

The jury rejected J&J claims that there was no asbestos in its powders. Instead, the jury found the company had been aware of the presence of asbestos in talcum powder for decades, yet had failed to warn consumers.

Beginning in 2009, lawsuits were filed in state and federal courts throughout the country alleging talc-based powders caused cancer. Trials against Johnson & Johnson alleging its talc-based powders caused cancer first began in 2013. This New York verdict is the 10th win for talc plaintiffs. It is the largest verdict in a claim that J&J talc powder contained asbestos and that asbestos caused the deadly asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma.

Johnson & Johnson announced plans to appeal the verdict. They face over 14,000 talc-related cancer claims according to a regulatory filing in May. In February, J&J received subpoenas from the United States Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission seeking documents on the safety of its talc products.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer after using Johnson & Johnson talc powder (including baby powder and Shower to Shower Powder), you may have a legal claim for damages. Call Thornton Law Firm’s mesothelioma attorneys,  Leah McMorris or Leslie-Anne Taylor for a confidential, no-obligation evaluation of your legal rights at 1-888-341-1405. Or tell us your story here to discuss your legal claim and how you should proceed. Do not delay seeking legal advice. Like all legal claims, talc powder lawsuits have short, strictly enforced time limits for filing.

RCI Hospitality Holdings (RICK) Shareholder Investigation: Lawsuit Filed

By Garrett J. Bradley, Esq. and Guillaume Buell, Esq.

Published on June 3, 2019

A class action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of investors of RCI Hospitality Holdings (NASDAQ: RICK). Shareholders who purchased at least 1,000 shares of RICK stock between February 14, 2018 and May 10, 2019, and are interested in learning about participating as a lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, are encouraged to contact the Thornton Law Firm at shareholder@tenlaw.com, or call 617-531-3917 to discuss their rights.

Investors interested in serving as a lead plaintiff have until July 22, 2019 to apply. The lawsuit alleges violations of the federal securities laws, and the class has not yet been certified. Until certification occurs, you are not represented by an attorney. If you choose to take no action, you can remain an absent class member.

According to the lawsuit, RCI made misleading statements, as well as failed to disclose material adverse facts about the Company’s business and operations. Specifically, RCI allegedly failed to disclose to investors that: (1) the Company engaged in numerous transactions with the CEO, including lending him significant sums of money; (2) these practices were reasonably likely to lead to regulatory scrutiny; (3) as a result of investigations into the Company’s governance, the Company would be unable to timely file its financial statements; and (4) Defendants’ positive statements about the Company’s business were misleading or lacked a reasonable basis. As the news about RCI’s alleged misstatements was revealed, RCI’s stock price fell over $3.00 a share.

If you purchased at least 1,000 shares of RCI Hospitality stock (NASDAQ: RICK) between February 14, 2018 and May 10, 2019, and are interested in learning about serving as a lead plaintiff, please contact the Thornton Law Firm’s shareholder rights team at shareholder@tenlaw.com, or call 617-531-3917. All communications will be treated in a confidential manner.

Thornton Law Firm’s securities attorneys specialize in representing individual shareholders and institutional investors in recovering damages caused by corporate wrongdoing or fraud. Its attorneys have decades of experience litigating securities cases in courts throughout the country and have a proven track record of recovering losses on behalf of shareholders.

Whitestone REIT (WSR) Shareholder Investigation: Lawsuit Filed

By Garrett J. Bradley, Esq. and Guillaume Buell, Esq.

Published on May 31, 2019

A class action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of investors of Whitestone REIT (NYSE: WSR). Shareholders who purchased at least 1,000 shares of WSR stock between May 9, 2018 and February 27, 2019, and are interested in learning about participating as a lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, are encouraged to contact the Thornton Law Firm at shareholder@tenlaw.com, or call 617-531-3917 to discuss their rights.

Investors interested in serving as a lead plaintiff have until June 17, 2019 to apply. The lawsuit alleges violations of the federal securities laws, and the class has not yet been certified. Until certification occurs, you are not represented by an attorney. If you choose to take no action, you can remain an absent class member.

According to the lawsuit, Whitestone made materially false or misleading statements, or failed to disclose, that: (1) Whitestone lacked effective internal control over financial reporting; (2) Whitestone was incorrectly recognizing assets and liabilities; (3) Whitestone’s financial statements for the fiscal year 2018 were overstating revenues; and (4) Whitestone’s financial statements for the fiscal year 2018 could no longer be relied upon. Whitestone’s stock dropped over 14% when the alleged truth was disclosed to investors.

If you purchased at least 1,000 shares of Whitestone REIT stock (NYSE: WSR) between May 9, 2018 and February 27, 2019, and are interested in learning about serving as a lead plaintiff, please contact the Thornton Law Firm’s shareholder rights team at shareholder@tenlaw.com, or call 617-531-3917. All communications will be treated in a confidential manner.

Thornton Law Firm’s securities attorneys specialize in representing individual shareholders and institutional investors in recovering damages caused by corporate wrongdoing or fraud. Its attorneys have decades of experience litigating securities cases in courts throughout the country and have a proven track record of recovering losses on behalf of shareholders.

Contact Information:

 

Guillaume Buell
Thornton Law Firm LLP
1 Lincoln StreetBoston, Massachusetts 02111 

Email: gbuell@tenlaw.com

Tel: 617-531-3933

 

 

 

Johnson & Johnson Prolift Vaginal Mesh: $80M Verdict in Latest Trial

By Marilyn T.  McGoldrick, Esq.

Published on May 28, 2019

johnson-johnson-logo

A Philadelphia jury ordered Ethicon, a subsidiary of Johnson and Johnson, to pay $80 million dollars to a woman who was injured by her Prolift transvaginal mesh implant. The verdict included an award of $50 million dollars in punitive damages. This is the 10th mesh-related case tried in Philadelphia and the 8th verdict in favor of plaintiffs.

Patricia Mesigian was implanted with Ethicon’s Prolift mesh in 2008 when she was 64. The implant was intended to treat her pelvic organ prolapse, a condition where the muscles supporting the organs weaken allowing the organs to drop down and press on or into the vagina. Instead of treating her condition, the implant caused her vaginal bleeding and pain, discomfort during sex, infection, and inflammation. Eventually the mesh eroded into her vagina and she endured 5 surgeries and two chemical burn treatments in an attempt to remove the mesh which was embedded in scar tissue.

The jury deliberated two days before reaching its verdict. They found the Prolift implant was defective and that the defendants failed to adequately describe the risks.  The jury awarded Ms. Mesigian $30 million in compensatory damages.

This is the second verdict against Ethicon in less than one month. An Altoona woman was awarded $120 million in April for the defective mesh she was implanted with to treat urinary incontinence. The verdict comes in the wake of the FDA’s decision to ban the last two manufacturers of pelvic mesh, Boston Scientific and Coloplast, from selling or distributing mesh products for transvaginal repair of pelvic organ prolapse in the United States. The FDA said that the manufacturers were unable to show that the products were safe or effective for the treatment of organ prolapse, compared to repair procedure using native tissues. Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon unit stopped selling the Prolift transvaginal mesh implants in 2012.

J&J’s Ethicon issued a statement saying that the verdict was “inconsistent with the science” and that they plan to appeal.

Any woman who has mesh implanted to treat pelvic organ prolapse who is having any symptoms connected with the implant should contact her doctor immediately. The injuries caused by defective transvaginal mesh may include vaginal bleeding or discharge, severe pelvic or groin pain, infection, pain during sexual intercourse, urinary problems, or perforated organs from mesh eroding into surrounding tissues. Do not delay seeking medical attention if you have any symptoms you believe are related to your transvaginal mesh implant.

If you would like to explore your legal options regarding your mesh implant, call the transvaginal mesh lawyers at Thornton Law Firm at 888-491-9726 to talk with Attorney Marilyn McGoldrick. You can also tell us your story online for a confidential, free evaluation of your claim.

 

 

 

Pinterest Inc. IPO Shareholder Investigation (PINS)

By Guillaume Buell, Esq. and Garrett J. Bradley, Esq.

Published on May 27, 2019

Thornton Law Firm LLP announces that it is investigating a potential securities class action on behalf of purchasers of the securities of Pinterest Inc. (NYSE ticker: PINS) pursuant to, or traceable to, the registration statement and prospectus issued in connection with Pinterest’s April 2019 initial public offering (“IPO”). The investigation involves possible violations of the federal securities laws.

If you purchased Pinterest Inc. stock, you may have a claim for damages resulting from misstatements in the Pinterest IPO prospectus and registration statement. If you are interested in pursuing this claim, or to discuss your legal rights, please email shareholder@tenlaw.com, or call 617-531-3933.

If you purchased or otherwise acquired Pinterest stock (NYSE: PINS) pursuant to its IPO, you may have a claim for damages. Please contact the Thornton Law Firm’s shareholder rights team at shareholder@tenlaw.com, or call 617-531-3933.

Thornton Law Firm’s securities attorneys specialize in representing individual shareholders and institutional investors in recovering damages caused by corporate wrongdoing or fraud. Its attorneys have decades of experience litigating securities cases in courts throughout the country and have a proven track record of recovering losses on behalf of shareholders.

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