Second Jury Finds Roundup Weedkiller Causes Cancer

By David C. Strouss, Esq.

UPDATE: The jury awarded over $80 million dollars to plaintiff Edwin Hardeman; compensatory damages of $5.27 million and punitive damages of $75 million

Published March 22, 2019

A federal court jury has ruled unanimously that Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller was a substantial contributing factor in the development of a California man’s non-Hodgkin lymphoma (also known as non-Hodgkins’s lymphoma). This is the first federal bellwether (test case) of the federal Multi-District Litigation (MDL) involving claims that Roundup causes non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Plaintiff Edwin Hardeman used Roundup weedkiller (active ingredient glyphosate) in the 1980s until 2012 on his 56 acre Sonoma County property to treat poison oak, overgrowth and weeds. He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a blood cancer, in 2015. He underwent chemotherapy and is currently in remission from his cancer.

The trial was bifurcated into two phases. This verdict was on the narrow question of whether Roundup caused Mr. Hardeman’s cancer. The jury answered “Yes” to the only question on the verdict form:
“Did Mr. Hardeman prove by a preponderance of the evidence that his exposure to Roundup was a substantial factor in causing his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma?”

Monsanto was acquired by German pharmaceutical giant Bayer AG last year. Bayer issued a statement on Twitter saying that it continues to believe that glyphosate-based herbicides do not cause cancer.

The second phase of the trial, to determine liability and damages, is taking place right now. Evidence is being presented about Monsanto’s knowledge of Roundup’s cancer-causing properties, whether they failed to warn of known hazards, and whether Monsanto is liable for, and the amount of, any damages suffered by Mr. Hardeman.

Thornton Law Firm is currently handling non-Hodgkin lymphoma cancer cases involving Roundup weedkiller.  We have a long standing history of litigation against Monsanto and Bayer involving Roundup. We filed suit in Delaware in 2012 on behalf of a large number of children with spina bifida and other serious birth injuries whose parents were tobacco farmers in Argentina.  We will utilize our extensive experience and expertise in representing persons with cancer and other serious disease from exposures to toxic substances in providing representation to persons with non-Hodgkin lymphoma from usage of one of the largest selling herbicides worldwide.  If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma after occupational or heavy residential exposure to Roundup, please call Attorney David Strouss at 888-491-9726 or tell us your story online here.

Another Johnson & Johnson Talc Cancer Verdict: $29 Million

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By Leah M. McMorris and Leslie-Anne Taylor

Posted on March 19, 2019

A California jury awarded $29 million to a woman dying from mesothelioma cancer in her lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson, attributing her development of the asbestos-linked cancer to her use of J&J baby powder.

Plaintiff Teresa Leavitt, the mother of two children, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2017. She is not expected to live beyond 2020, according to testimony of her doctors. The jury awarded her $2.49 million in past and future lost economic damages as well as $22 million for noneconomic damages past and future. Her husband was awarded $5 million for loss of consortium. No punitive damages were awarded.

Ms. Leavitt testified that baby powder was used on her when she was a child. As an adult, she continued to use J&J baby powder, as a “dry shampoo” or on her face as a foundation for her makeup.

Her lawyers introduced evidence that Johnson & Johnson learned of the presence of asbestos in talc mined in Vermont and Italy, but never alerted government regulators or consumers. No warning label about the presence or hazards of asbestos has ever been placed on Johnson & Johnson talc powders, including J&J Shower to Shower and baby powders.

The jury found J&J’s actions a substantial contributing factor in causing Leavitt’s mesothelioma. They also found that Johnson & Johnson failed to warn her of the cancer risk in using their products and intentionally withheld facts about the safety of their product. . The state court jury of seven men and five women included an attorney and a state court judge.

The plaintiffs were represented by trial attorneys Joseph Satterley and Denyse Clancy of Kazan, McClain, Satterley & Greenwood, Oakland, California, and Moshe Maimon of Levy Konigsberg LLP, New York, New York.

Johnson & Johnson has announced plans to appeal the verdict. It faces another 13,000 similar cases across the country.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or ovarian cancer after using Johnson & Johnson talc powder (including baby powder and Shower to Shower Powder), you may have a legal claim. Call Thornton Law Firm’s baby powder attorneys, female mesothelioma lawyers Marilyn McGoldrick, Leah McMorris and Leslie-Anne Taylor for a confidential, free 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.

 

CDC: U.S. Mesothelioma Deaths Continue to Rise

Call 888-491-9726 for a free consultation with a recognized leader in mesothelioma and asbestos litigation. You can also contact us online to discuss the details of your case.

By: Andrew S. Wainwright, Esq.

Published on May 11, 2017

Mesothelioma is a type of malignant cancer that affects the thin lining of the body’s internal organs. It has been known for decades that mesothelioma is the direct result of exposure to asbestos. In response, the federal government banned many asbestos-containing products, although even today some asbestos products are still sold legally, and workers are still exposed in older structures that contain asbestos. Sadly, mesothelioma deaths continue to rise across the United States.

More Than 45,000 Mesothelioma Deaths Since 1999

On March 3, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released updated figures on mesothelioma-related deaths in the United States from 1999 to 2015. “Contrary to past projections,” the CDC said, “the number of malignant mesothelioma deaths has been increasing.” In 1999, there were 2,479 reported mesothelioma deaths. In 2015, there were 2,597–an increase of nearly 5 percent.

Overall there have been more than 45,000 mesothelioma-related deaths since 1999. Nearly 80 percent of these victims were men. About 95 percent were Caucasian.

Not surprisingly, the majority of mesothelioma deaths occurred when the victims were age 55 or older. The CDC noted that the time lapse between initial exposure to asbestos and the onset of malignant mesothelioma is typically 20 to 39 years – and in some cases as long as 71 years. This means workers exposed to asbestos at the age of 25 in 1977 may not be diagnosed with mesothelioma until after they have retired.

But even with modern health and safety rules designed to protect workers, exposure still remains a risk. The CDC said exposure now occurs “predominantly during maintenance operations and remediation of older buildings containing asbestos.” The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) maintains strict standards for removing asbestos from existing buildings. But if individual employers, particularly in the construction industry, fail to abide by these standards, workers may still be exposed. This can also expose family members of such workers, the CDC said, since asbestos fibers on clothing may later be inhaled by other members of the worker’s household.

Do You Need to Speak With a Boston Asbestos & Mesothelioma Attorney?

According to the CDC’s figures, the highest age-adjusted death rates for mesothelioma victims are found in northeastern states, notably Massachusetts and Maine. This underscores the ongoing public health crisis of mesothelioma in and around the Boston area. If you or a family member have been exposed to asbestos and need to speak with a Boston mesothelioma lawyer, contact Thornton Law Firm, LLP, online today or call (888) 491-9726 to schedule a free consultation.

Johnson & Johnson to Pay $72 Million in Talc Cancer Case

Call 888-341-1405 for a free consultation with a recognized leader in personal injury and medical device litigation. You can also contact us online to discuss the details of your case.

By: Marilyn McGoldrick, Esq.

NOTE: This verdict was later overturned for lack of personal jurisdiction, based on the Supreme Court decision in Bristol-Myers Squibb v. Superior Court of California, San Francisco County, et al., 582 U.S.___ (2017).

A St. Louis jury awarded $72 million dollars to the family of a woman who developed ovarian cancer after using Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder for many years. The jury awarded $10 million dollars in compensatory damages and $62 million dollars to the family of an Alabama woman. Plaintiff Jackie Fox died of ovarian cancer on October 6th. She had used Johnson & Johnson baby powder and “Shower to Shower” talcum powder for 35 years.

Fox’s family submitted expert medical testimony that talcum powder causes ovarian cancer. Statistical evidence presented at trial also showed that 1,500 women per year die from the association between talcum powder and ovarian cancer.

While many other manufacturers now substitute corn starch for talc in baby powder, Johnson & Johnson continues to use talc in its baby powder products and continues to maintain that it is safe. The American Cancer Society advised in 1999 that women use cornstarch powder, rather than talcum powder, in the genital area.

Key evidence in the trial were internal memos from Johnson & Johnson. A 1997 memo from a J&J medical consultant, toxicologist Alfred P. Wehner, declared:

“There are at least 9 epidemiological studies published in the professional literature describing a statistically significant (albeit weak) association between hygienic talc use and ovarian cancer….Anybody who denies this risks that the talc industry will be perceived by the public like it perceives the cigarette industry: denying the obvious in the face of all evidence to the contrary.”

Other Johnson & Johnson documents showed the company discussing internally how to defend potential lawsuits, and talking about hiring a female oncologist to get their message out.

The jury forewoman, Krista Smith, called the Johnson & Johnson internal documents “decisive”, stating “It was really clear they were hiding something. All they had to do was put a warning label on.”

More than 1200 other lawsuits are still pending against J&J from women who developed ovarian cancer after using talcum powder. Johnson & Johnson is expected to appeal this verdict.

Women who use baby powder should look for a powder that is made from cornstarch, not talc. If you have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using talcum powder, call the defective product lawyers at Thornton Law Firm for a legal consultation. You can tell us your story online or call Attorney Marilyn McGoldrick at 1-888-341-1405 for a free, confidential evaluation of your legal rights. All legal claims have short time limits, so get legal advice quickly.

FBI Investigating What Manufacturers Knew About Morcellators

By Marilyn McGoldrick, Esq.

Because of concerns that federal laws may have been broken, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is now investigating laparoscopic power morcellators, the surgical tool found to spread cancer in women. Their investigation focuses on what manufacturers knew before the FDA added a black box warning to the device in 2014. The Wall Street Journal reported that the investigation includes Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and what they knew about the morcellator’s potential to spread and upstage uterine cancers. J&J’s Ethicon Unit was the largest manufacturer of the laparoscopic power morcellator before removing the device from the market last July.

Power morcellators are used in hysterectomies and myomectomies (a procedure that removes fibroids). Inserted through a small incision, the device’s spinning blades chop the tissue to be removed into tiny pieces. But this also sprays the tissue throughout the abdominal cavity. If the patient has an undetected uterine cancer, the morcellator can spread the cancer. This spreading of the cancer is called upstaging. Now that the cancer is spread throughout the abdomen, it is more difficult to cure, and the woman’s survival rate drops drastically.

The FBI has reportedly spoken with four people in its investigation to date. Dr. Robert Lamparter, a pathologist at Evangelical Community Hospital in Lewisburg, PA, emailed J&J’s Ethicon division in February 2006, warning them about the power morcellator’s potential to spread cancer. He said that even in his small hospital, which had done 292 hysterectomies in 2005, they were finding one malignancy annually. “If a morcellation is done, the patient’s survival is jeopardized,” he wrote. J&J says it added new language to its warning after receiving Dr. Lamparter’s email, but the doctor called that new language “a legal fig leaf” in an interview with the New York Times. He also said that gynecologists at his hospital reported that their training did not substantially change after his warning to J&J.

Three other people interviewed by the FBI are well-known for their fight against the use of the power morcellator. Dr. Amy Reed, an anesthesiologist, and her husband Dr. Hooman Noorchashm, a cardiothoracic surgeon, have campaigned tirelessly against power morcellation. Dr. Reid underwent a hysterectomy for fibroid tumors in 2013. A biopsy after the surgery found a hidden sarcoma, and spread by the morcellator, her cancer was now stage 4. Both have been interviewed multiple times by the FBI. The FBI also interviewed Sarah Robinson, a physician assistant, who testified at an FDA hearing about the morcellator. She has collected a list of  386 names of women harmed by morcellation – including herself. [Update: Sadly, Dr. Amy Reed died in 2017. She was only 44 years old; survived by her husband Dr. Noorchashm and their six children.]

While  J&J’s Gynecare X-Tract, Gynecare Morcellex Tissue Morcellator, and Morcellex Sigma have been removed from the market (and those already in use recalled) other manufacturers’ morcellators are still being used. These include: Blue Endo’s MOREsolution Tissue Morcellator; the FemRx Diva Morcellator; Hologic’s MyoSure; Interlace Medical’s Hysteroscopic Morcellator; Rotocut G1, G2, Steiner, and Sawalhell Supercut Morcellators manufactured by Karl Storz; LiNA Medical’s Xcise Cordless Laparoscopic Morcellator; Lumenis Inc.’s VersaCut Morcellator; Nouvag’s Morcellator TCM3000BL; PlasmaSORD and Gyrus PKS PlasmaSORD manufactured by Olympus; Richard Wolf’s Morce-Power 2306 Electronic Morcellator; and Smith & Nephew’s Trueclear Hysteroscopic Morcellator.

If you developed a uterine cancer after undergoing hysterectomy or myomectomy with a power morcellator you may have a claim against the device manufacturer. For a free and confidential consultation about your legal rights, please call contact Thornton Law Firm’s power morcellator attorneys at 888-341-1405 or tell us your story online. Like all legal claims, claims against medical device manufacturers are subject to strict time limits. Do not delay seeking legal advice.

Study: Viagra And Revatio Users 84% More Likely To Develop Melanoma

By Marilyn T. McGoldrick, Esq.

Published on Jun 23, 2014

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Recent reports show that the risk of developing melanoma, a potentially fatal skin cancer, is doubled for men who use Viagra® or Revatio®.  Viagra and Revatio (sildenafil), manufactured and distributed by Pfizer, are used to treat erectile dysfunction (ED) and symptoms of pulmonary hypertension. An April 2014 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association’s JAMAInternal Medicine found that of the nearly 26,000 male participants, those who have used Viagra or Revatio were 84% more likely to develop melanoma versus those who did not use the drug.  The study also pointed out that men who took the drugs weren’t at higher risk of less-dangerous skin cancers, such as basal cell or squamous cell cancers. Rather, use of Viagra or Revatio directly correlated with an increased risk of melanoma.

How we can help

Thornton Law Firm has been a leader in investigating and pursuing compensation for consumers who have been injured by defective drugs and medical devices for more than 30 years. We have a team of attorneys dedicated to this complex area of law. We understand your rights, what is at stake, and how to handle drug claims from beginning to end.  If you have been diagnosed with melanoma after using Viagra or Revatio, or a loved one has been diagnosed with or died from skin cancer after using these drugs, please contact us by telling us your story here, or by calling our toll-free number: 1-888-491-9726.

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