Is This the Next Generation of Asbestos Mass Toxic Tort Litigation…? Thumbnail

Is This the Next Generation of Asbestos Mass Toxic Tort Litigation…?

Johnson & Johnson recently went to trial in Los Angeles County, California in an asbestos lawsuit.  Herford, et al. v. AT&T Corp., et al., No. BC 646315. 
Where’s the potential asbestos exposure, you ask?  While there are many cases across the country that involve the alleged causal connection between talc products and ovarian cancer, the Herford case is the first known lawsuit to be tried to verdict that involves the claimed causal connection between cosmetic talcum power products (alleged to be contaminated with asbestos) and plaintiff’s development of malignant mesothelioma.
The jury in the Herford case came back with a defense verdict last week.  So, these types of cases may not quickly move into the next wave of “mass tort” … but, we have seen a nationwide increase in cosmetic talc asbestos claims filed within the past year, several being filed in Ohio. 
The distinction between ovarian cancer cases and mesothelioma cases as it relates to use of cosmetic talc products centers on the provable science and the geology, respectively. 
By rendering a defense verdict, the Herford jury found that plaintiffs did not prove that the talcum powder products used were contaminated with asbestos in a way that could cause the claimed mesothelioma – focusing more on the geology of the raw material mined (suggesting that it is not asbestos), rather than the medical issue of whether small amounts of certain types of asbestos can cause mesothelioma.  It is unknown at this time whether there will be an appeal of the jury’s verdict.

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