LANZO CASE UPDATE
On Friday, a New Jersey State judge upheld a verdict totaling $117 million in damages against Johnson & Johnson and its talc supplier over claims that Lanzo’s decades-long exposure to asbestos-containing talcum powder contributed to his mesothelioma. When seeking to overturn the verdicts, the defendants argued that the talc products did not contain asbestos. The Lanzos countered that their experts had provided ample evidence of the asbestos and stressed that J&J used tests “that would only detect asbestos above a certain threshold.”
On Thursday, May 24th, a California jury found that Johnson & Johnson should pay $4 million in punitive damages along with $21.7 million to Joanne Anderson after she developed malignant mesothelioma because of long-time exposure to asbestos in Johnson & Johnson products. Even after this most recent verdict, J&J continues the assertion that their products don’t contain asbestos or cause cancer, bringing in scientists and other experts. Carol Goodrich, J&J spokesperson said that the company plans to appeal the verdict. “We will continue to defend the safety of our product because it does not contain asbestos or cause mesothelioma,” she said. During their deliberations, the jury requested that the defendants add a warning label on their products. While that was not something that they could enforce, Anderson’s attorney hopes that “‘these verdicts help J&J see what the rest of us do.’ “’They are selling cancer-causing powder for use on the most helpless of us — children.’”
Studies investigating the dangers of talcum powder date back to the 1970’s. The talc mineral found in popular products, including Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower, is composed of silicon and hydrated magnesium. However, talc’s purest form has been associated with asbestos and other carcinogens due to the mineral’s proximity in mining environments. Likewise, the American Cancer Society has conducted studies linking the use of talc products to ovarian cancer, lung cancer, and endometrial cancer. These seemingly apparent risks associated with the continual use of talc-based products have prompted victims and their families to demand talc product manufacturers, like Johnson & Johnson, to provide warning labels on these products to inform consumers of the potential health risks they face when buying these products.
In April of this year, a New Jersey jury slammed J&J and Imerys Talc America Inc. with $80 million in combined punitive damages after finding that companies acted with reckless indifference by selling asbestos-containing talcum powder that contributed to a Stephen Lanzo’s III development of mesothelioma. Credibility has been called into question on the company’s “experts” throughout these court trials. In Lanzo’s case, his attorney asserted during the closing argument that J&J only used testing methods that would not detect asbestos. In the early 1990s William Longo, materials science and electron microscopy expert for J&J, testified that he tested for a specific kind of asbestos and could not detect the asbestos in certain bottles based on his method, note that the bottles he tested did not contain asbestos. “As for quantifying the amount of asbestos, Longo estimated that a bottle of baby powder contained millions of asbestos fibers. Longo testified that when a particular test revealed even one fiber, “that actually means that the bottle itself is filled with millions and millions of fibers.”
WHEN TO INVOLVE AN ATTORNEY
If you or someone you know has suffered a personal injury or wrongful death as the result of the use of talcum powder or any other defective medical product, please contact one of our attorneys at Schneider Hammers today. We focus on your injury and suffering to ensure that you receive the settlement you deserve.