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How do YOU fit into the J&J Talcum Powder Litigation?

closeup shot of talcum powder on a table

Many medical research studies reveal that asbestos can  trigger cancer cells that emerge in some cases years after being exposed. A unusual as well hostile cancer, mesothelioma is specifically brought on by direct exposure to asbestos. Asbestos can additionally trigger cancer in the lungs or lung diseases. 

There are 5 acknowledged kinds of asbestos. These are Crocidolite, Amosite, Anthophyllite, Tremolite and also Actinolite. The mineral talc in its natural habitat does consist of asbestos as well as triggers cancer cells, however asbestos-free talc  has actually been utilized in cosmetics as far back as the 1970's.

While Johnson and Johnson ( J&J) ensured the public of the pureness of their talcum powder, an examination revealed that the company had actually known that the tremolite asbestos could be in their talc ever since the year 1971. While asbestos is permitted in certain products if it makes up less than 1% of the item, when a business tells false truths concerning the  portion of the substance}, this can be lethal. Notes from a conference on July 8, 1971 with representatives of J&J's research department in Brunswick, New Jersey unveiled that J&J recognized the fact that there were fragments of asbestos in their talc. At the conference, the research agents with Dr. Nashad from J&J reviewed an evaluation of their method of identifying asbestos in the talc.

While certain studies connect talc to cancer, there are worries that the researches rely upon individuals bearing in mind  just how much talc they made use of years prior. Additionally, there are various other variables that might trigger cancer cells besides simply asbestos contamination

WHAT IS IT

What are the J&J Talc Lawsuits?

10 truths you need to recognize.

1.     The emphasis of the J&J lawsuits is their talcum powder/baby powder. Talc and asbestos are commonly discovered with or near each other in the earth in mines.  Talc extracted from the earth can in some cases be polluted with asbestos. J&J  acquired a collection of talc mines in Vermont in the 1960's. The business utilized the Vermont mine's Hammondville deposit as its main resource for talc from 1966 up until 1990.

2.     The J&J talc was polluted with tremolite. The  business's memoranda determined that tremolite, a substance generally in asbestos, was discovered in their talc. The executives were cautioned concerning the damaging impact of the talcum powder from medical professionals. In 1992 after J&J sold their Vermont mines, the new proprietor referenced problems of tremolite in its talc deposit. A Rutgers geologist validated this fact, when she discovered asbestos in J&J's Talcum powder in her 1991 research study, identifying the long needle-like structures she found as tremolite "asbestos" needles.

3.     J&J’s talc powder has been connected to different types of cancer. The J&J talc lawsuits started when their baby powder ended up being connected to a variety of cancers. J&J encountered legal action over this from as early on as the late 90's. Darlene Coker was seemingly the first to file suit against J&J after a pathology test determined that a lung tissue sample of hers had thousands of lengthy fibers of four various types of asbestos consistent with direct exposure to talc including chrysotile as well as tremolite contamination. Coker passed away a few decades later from mesothelioma. 

4.     J and J recognized the powder in some circumstances contained asbestos. Reuters analyzed internal documents from J&J in 2018 and uncovered that the business's baby powder was in some cases polluted with carcinogenic asbestos and additionally that the company concealed this information from the general public. 

5.     J&J rejected claims that their talc powder contained asbestos. From the initial complaint from Darlene Coker, the company  asserted there was no asbestos, not trace amounts in their talc powder. 

6.     J&J hid this information. J&J  ensured the FDA that there was no asbestos to be found in any sample of their talc in-between December 1972 and October 1973. J&J failed to inform the FDA that a minimum of at least 3 various labs from the years of 1972 to 1975 discovered asbestos in its talc, where some levels of the asbestos were reported to be "rather high".

7.     Litigation Emerged. 90's: Johnson and Johnson refuted the lac test lab tests and were able to avoid disclosing internal records requested by plaintiffs. Due to the fact that the plaintiff bears the burden of proof in civil lawsuits, the individuals in the lawsuit had no proof and had to drop the lawsuit altogether.

8.     The Litigations Disclosed Hidden Truths. 2018: twenty years later, the talc results as well as other records the complainants had sought for years were ultimately disclosed. Over 11,700 plaintiffs brought this information to light.

9.     Documents Revealed J&J Lied. Deposition and trial testimony as well as further investigation revealed from the years of 1971 to the early 2000’s, J&J’s raw talc powders revealed that the business's raw talc as well as finished powders in some cases tested positive for trace amounts of asbestos. Some of the company’s top executives knew this information while failing to disclose it to the general public.

10.  Records Reveal J&J Designed Research Outcomes in Their Favor. Records reveal that J&J designed research outcomes in their favor via sponsored research studies, some even including J&J employees. A study from the 1970’s shows how J&J paid for the studies through sponsoring them, telling researchers their desired results, and hiring ghostwriters to redraft articles to present their findings in a more positive way in their journals. The J&J physicians in charge of the study were not disclosed. These studies have since influenced the entire market, and were accepted until just the past few years. All the while, J&J was able to brainwash the industry into thinking that their talc was not contaminated with asbestos, and if there were trace amounts, that this was not concerning. 

What Stage Are The Lawsuits In NOW

Private lawsuits all throughout the nation, in addition to class action cases comprise a total of over 19,000 plaintiffs suing J&J over their talcum powder. These lawsuits are all filed by survivors and consumers of the talc products, which inevitably caused cancer die to contamination with asbestos, a carcinogen.

NOTEWORTHY CASES

Some of the most noteworthy class actions have received verdicts along the lines of $4.7 billion, $117 million, $110 million, $70 million, $55 million, and $26 million.

  1. $ 4.7 Billion Judgment for 22 Females (July 2018). One noteworthy case against J&J is a Missouri lawsuit from 2018. 22 women brought the lawsuit against J&J in Missouri. The court found that the J&J talcum powder did  cause ovarian cancer in the 22 women. The jury gave the complainants $4.7 billion in all, but the Missouri Court of Appeals lowered this amount to $2.1 billion and ultimately $2.1 billion. 
  1. Joanne Anderson v. Johnson and Et Al-25 .7 million Judgment (May 2018). In May 2018, A Los Angeles court granted compensatory damages for $21.7 million, as well as $4 million in punitive damages to Joanna Anderson. Anderson, 68, asserted that her constant use of J&J’s talc powder triggered her cancer. J&J was  made to pay 2/3rds of the overall verdict while other pharmaceutical companies were made to pay the other third. 
  1. Stephen Lanzo v. Johnson & Johnson- $117 Million Judgment (April 2018) In April 2018, a New Jersey court granted 80 million in punitive damages and $37 million in compensatory damages to financial investment banker Stephen Lanzo and his partner. Lanzo asserted that he acquired mesothelioma cancer after 30 some  years of using J&J’s talc powder and shower products. Lanzo asserted that the products consisted of asbestos which triggered his cancer. While J&J asserted the locations Lanzo lived triggered his cancer, the jury differed in their views. The court ended up granting Lanzo and his wife $117 million. J&J did appeal their judgment but a New Jersey state judge affirmed the judgement, and did not overturn the verdict for J&J.
  1. Lois Slemp v. Johnson & Johnson-$ 110 Million Judgment (May 2017). In May 2017, a St. Lewis jury granted $110 million to Lois Slemp from Wise, Virginia. Slemo  alleged that utilizing J&J’s baby powder and shower products for over 40 years caused her ovarian cancer  which in turn infected her liver. Slemp alleged there was asbestos in the J&J products she used that was carcinogenic. She received $110 million from the company as damages and $105 of this was punitive damages.
  1. Gloria Ristesund v. Johnson & Johnson- $55 Million Judgment (May 2016). In May 2016, a Missouri court granted Gloria Ristesund $55 million after she made use of the J&J talcum powder as well as shower to shower product on her pelvic area for years.

Why Is It Important

The lawsuits have become crucial to safeguard future victims as well as prevent J&J from further holding back important details such as the asbestos levels in their products that have already affected too many lives.

The World Health Organization as well as other authorities acknowledge that there is a risk-free degree of direct exposure to asbestos. Further, even trace amounts of the substance can activate cancer cells years after exposure.  Regardless of investigations disclosing that J&J recognized that there was asbestos in their products for deceased, J&J has consistently denied these claims, and state that their products are risk-free and do not cause cancers.

Ongoing litigation has in effect forced the company to eliminate talcum powder from their product  line. This means less contamination and less exposure to these products, therefore fewer victims. Much like the opioid lawsuits against Purdue Pharma, where the company continued marketing schemes on a global scale, there are ongoing fears that J&J will continue to impact people worldwide with asbestos contaminated products. 

The lawsuit's punitive damages prove a point that other companies as well as J&J will face serious consequences where they endanger the public with contaminated products. 

Who Has It Affected

The litigation against J&J came about due to consumers developing various cancers after using the company’s product. The two main cancers caused by the asbestos contamination are mesothelioma, a cancer affecting the lungs, as well as ovarian cancer. One of the first cases against J&J was filed by Darlene Coker. Coker ran a massage school in Texas, and somehow developed mesothelioma. Tissue samples determined that her cancer was caused by asbestos exposure. Her attorney Hobson filed against J&J with knowledge that talc and asbestos occurred together naturally in mines, and talc deposits. 

J&J denied all claims, was able to avoid disclosing any documents and Coker was forced to drop her lawsuit. Decades later, more lawsuits revealed Coker and her attorney were correct. Documents revealed there was asbestos in J&J’s products and their initial claims were false. The company’s raw talc and other finished powder tested positive for trace amounts of asbestos sometimes in worrying amounts. 

If you are a consumer like Darlene Coker, and more who have developed cancer due to exposure to J&J’s products, reach out to a professional at The Cochran Firm to assist you with your lawsuit.

What To Do If You Have Been Affected 

Contact a Cochran Firm attorney if you have been affected. Call 1 (888) 671-5973 for a confidential call with an intake specialist or visit Cochrantalc.com to complete a form so we can walk you through the confidential process. 

SOURCES:

reuters.com, asbestos.com, reuters.com, bbc.com, usnews.com, classaction.com.

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