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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Published December 17, 2018
Johnson & Johnson documents confirm they knew since at least 1971 that their talc powders contained asbestos
A new report by Reuters makes public the fact that cosmetics giant Johnson & Johnson knew since at least 1971 that its talc powders including baby powder contained asbestos.
Thornton Law Firm wrote on this blog last year about the cover-up revealed by many of the same documents Reuters reviewed. The documents were produced in talc powder cancer lawsuits against J&J over the past few years: Johnson & Johnson Knew of Asbestos Risk In Talc For Over Forty Years. Since that blog post was published, an additional 6,000 claims have been filed against Johnson and Johnson alleging cancer developed after using their talc powder products.
For over 40 years, Johnson & Johnson has maintained that the talc in their powders including Baby Powder and Shower to Shower powder were asbestos-free. But Johnson & Johnson’s own internal documents present much evidence that this is just untrue.
J&J receives reports of asbestos in talc beginning in 1957
Johnson & Johnson’s earliest reports of asbestos in talc are from 1957 and 1958 when a consulting lab’s studies of the Italian talc used in J&J Baby Powder showed fibrous and “acicular,” or needle-like, tremolite. Tremolite is an amphibole asbestos, often found along with other minerals in nature.
Internal discussion of asbestos in talc, but never reported to authorities
Over the years, Johnson & Johnson executives, scientists, mine managers, doctors and lawyers discussed the asbestos problem internally but never reported it to federal authorities.
Johnson & Johnson failed to disclose tests by three separate labs between 1972 and 1975 showed asbestos in talc to the FDA, instead telling the FDA that all its powders tested asbestos-free. One of the tests reported the asbestos level as “rather high”.
J&J works to suppress the public’s knowledge of asbestos in their talc powders
Arthur Langer and Irving Selikoff, scientists well known to asbestos victims for their research on the dangers of asbestos, both told Johnson & Johnson that they found asbestos in its talc. In response, J&J put the two famous researchers on a list of “antagonistic personalities” in a November 29, 1972 memo.
In 1973 Johnson and Johnson considered getting patents for a process that would separate talc from tremolite, but decided against obtaining the patents. The director of research for J&J’s Central Research Laboratories in New Jersey, Tom Shelley, wrote this explanation to a J&J lawyer:
“We will want to carefully consider the … patents re asbestos in talc. It’s quite possible that we may wish to keep the whole thing confidential rather than allow it to be published in patent form and thus let the whole world know.”
Johnson & Johnson rejected the most sensitive test for finding asbestos in talc, then based on the less sensitive tests claimed (and continue to claim) their talc is asbestos-free.
For years the American Cancer Society accepted the representations of industry that talc products were asbestos-free. The ACS website said flatly “All talcum products used in homes have been asbestos-free since the 1970s.” But after being contacted by Reuters , in December the ACS revised its website. Now it says that under industry guidelines, talc products “should be free from detectable amounts of asbestos.” See the change on the website here.
Many talc samples and baby powder samples test positive for asbestos
Baby powders that when tested were found to contain asbestos included:
- A bottle of 1978 baby powder from Johnson & Johnson’s own J&J museum;
- Bottles from plaintiffs’ cupboards;
- Shower to Shower talc powder from the 1990s;
- Bottles purchased on Ebay.
Judge Accuses J&J of “Misrepresentation by Omission”
This year a New Jersey judge, Middlesex County Superior Court Judge Ana Viscomi, upheld a jury verdict again Johnson & Johnson. In her ruling in favor of the plaintiff with cancer, she stated:
“Providing the FDA favorable results showing no asbestos and withholding or failing to provide unfavorable results, which show asbestos, is a form of a misrepresentation by omission,”
Johnson & Johnson has begun to change their statements on asbestos in talc powders
While Johnson & Johnson’s website used to say their talc powders have always been asbestos free, that statement has been changed. Now the site says “Our talc-based consumer products are (we cannot say always) asbestos free, as confirmed by regular testing since the 1970s.”
What can you do?
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer or mesothelioma after using talcum powder (including baby powder and Shower to Shower Powder), you may have a claim for damages. Contact Thornton Law Firm’s defective product attorneys for a confidential, free evaluation of your legal rights at 1-888-341-1405. Or tell us your story here to find out your legal rights and how you should proceed.
Trust our Massachusetts talcum powder attorneys to help
Call Attorney Marilyn McGoldrick at 1-888-341-1405 or tell her your story online for a free consultation with a recognized leader in Massachusetts personal injury litigation. We offer a fair and accurate assessment of your case. You have nothing to risk.
Published on October 18, 2017
Sandi Goodwin and Lee McKenney worked tirelessly to support Andy Wainwright and Andrea Landry, and the Waters & Kraus lawyers, staying late and performing beautifully under great pressure for weeks.
Dodie Rodrigues, Kymm Smith, Joyce Murphy, Diane Mazin, Janine LoVuolo and Malissa Riehl all volunteered time, effort, and experience staying late each night to work with the trial team on weekends and after hours (even in scorching temperatures when the air conditioning was out!).
Chris Corradetti, Joe Souza, Denise Whitlock, and Kerry Brennan all provided top-notch paralegal support putting the cases together, performing investigatory work, and working with exhibits and other trial issues.
Leah McMorris, Brian Freer, and Leslie-Anne Taylor drafted countless winning bench memoranda and other research projects, motions in limine, jury instructions, and were there with all-around workhorse trial support 24/7.
Bill Warren and Nolando Brice provided seamless technical support and logistics.
We will never forget why we do the work we do for families like the Rosses and Sylvestres. But we must also remember that without the support of truly great team members like you, none of it would be possible. On behalf of the Rosses, the Sylvestres, and all of our other asbestos clients: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Call 888-491-9726 for a free consultation with Thornton Law Firm, a recognized leader in mesothelioma and asbestos litigation. You can also contact us online to discuss the details of your case.
Second Multi-Million Asbestos Related Verdict for Boston Law Firm in Two Weeks
Published on October 5, 2017
BOSTON, Mass.– A Superior Court jury in Boston returned a verdict of $6.8 million dollars against New England Insulation, a Canton company that distributed and installed asbestos insulation material until the early 1970s. Former Massachusetts insulator Timothy Ross passed away due to mesothelioma, an asbestos-related cancer, on Aug. 19, 2013. His widow, Amy Ross, pursued this case individually and on behalf of his estate.
“Our family, including my children, are very pleased that justice was served,” said Ross. “Were he here, I know my husband would be greatly appreciative of the team that represented him and the jury for their hard work and dedication.”
This is the second multi-million-dollar verdict in two weeks for the Thornton Law Firm and co-counsel Waters & Kraus against New England Insulation. Last week, on Sept. 21, 2017, another Boston jury returned a verdict of $7.55 million for Gerald Sylvestre, a former New Hampshire power plant worker currently undergoing treatment for mesothelioma.
“We’re very happy with the verdict reached by the jury,” said attorney Andrew Wainwright of Thornton Law Firm. “They recognized the pain the Ross family endured through the years and rightfully held New England Insulation responsible for their actions.”
Thornton Law Firm was founded in 1978 by Michael Thornton doing groundbreaking work for victims of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. Now the leading injury law firm in Massachusetts and the largest plaintiff law firm in New England, the firm has a dedicated team of attorneys representing thousands of clients in a wide variety of plaintiff-side work. Thornton Law Firm has represented asbestos victims in New England for nearly over 40 years. This commitment led the firm to aid in the creation of the Thornton House, which provides housing for mesothelioma and asbestos disease patients and families.
If you need help contact David McMorris, either by email, or phone 617-694-3934.
Call 888-632-0108 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.
Published on September 22, 2017
$7.55 Million Awarded to Victim in Case Against Insulation Company
A Superior Court jury in Boston returned a verdict of $7.55 million dollars against New England Insulation, a Canton company who distributed and installed asbestos insulation material until the early 1970’s. Gerald Sylvestre, a former worker in the Public Service of New Hampshire Merrimack Power Station in Bow NH, developed pleural mesothelioma, an asbestos-caused cancer, in 2015 and is currently undergoing treatment.
“No one should have to go through this illness, and I particularly hate the suffering it has caused my family, especially because it could have been prevented,” said Sylvestre. “My wife and I were very happy with the verdict, but what meant the most was that we got to tell our story and the jury heard it and responded as they did.”
“The jury recognized the devastation this disease creates for families of workers exposed to hazardous materials,” said Sylvestre’s attorney, Andrew Wainwright of Boston’s Thornton Law Firm, “Had New England Insulation shared the knowledge they had of the dangers of asbestos with men working near them and with their products, this all could have been avoided.”
Today’s verdict is the largest award to date in New England, and was the result of a team effort between the Thornton Law Firm and Waters and Kraus, a nationally recognized asbestos trial firm.
“We are grateful for the jury’s verdict fully compensating the Sylvestres for their losses,” said Andrea Marino Landry, Thornton Law Firm’s trial co-counsel. “Gerald Sylvestre and other workers have suffered greatly from New England Insulation’s failure to share with them its knowledge of the dangers of asbestos exposure, which could have prevented this family’s pain and heartbreak.”
Thornton Law Firm was founded in 1978 by Michael Thornton doing groundbreaking work for victims of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. Now the leading injury law firm in Massachusetts and the largest plaintiff law firm in New England, the firm has an experienced team of attorneys representing thousands of clients in a wide variety of plaintiff-side work. The firm has represented asbestos victims in New England for over 40 years and this commitment led Thornton Law Firm to aid in the creation of the Thornton House, which provides housing for mesothelioma and asbestos disease patients and families.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, call Attorney Andrew Wainwright at 888-632-0108 for a free case evaluation, or tell us your story here. All legal claims have short, strictly enforced time deadlines, so contact us immediately if you need legal advice.
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.
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.