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Have YOU Been Affected by J&J’s Asbestos Contaminated Products?

Numerous clinical research studies expose that asbestos can cause cancer  that arises sometimes years after being subjected. An uncommon and hostile cancer, mesothelioma, is induced by direct exposure to asbestos. Asbestos can also cause lung disease and more deadly ailments. There are 5 recognized sorts of asbestos. These are Crocidolite, Amosite, Anthophyllite, Tremolite, and Actinolite.

The mineral talc in its original environment contains asbestos and this causes cancer. Nonetheless, asbestos-free talc has been utilized in cosmetics as far back as the 1970's.

While J&J guaranteed the general public the purity of their talc, an assessment disclosed that the company had in fact recognized that the asbestos known as tremolite could be found in their talc since the year of at least 1971. While asbestos is technically allowed in certain products to be used by consumers if the substance composes less than 1% of the product, trouble arises when the company leaves out crucial details about this number and fails to disclose certain truths to the public. This hidden information can be deadly to consumers in certain circumstances.

Notes from a meeting with agents of J&J’s research division in Brunswick, New Jersey revealed that J&J had identified pieces of asbestos in their talc. This meeting took place on July 8, 1971. At the meeting, the study representatives with Dr. Nashad from J&J discussed how they determine whether there were pieces of asbestos in their products, and their technique of identifying said substance.

While particular research connects talcum powder  to cancer, there are concerns about this research that it can sometimes rely on individuals having to remember how much talcum powder they have used from certain companies, and when. The research must keep in mind other variables that could cause cancer beside asbestos contamination.

What Is It

What is the J&J Talcum Powder Litigation?

10 Facts to Acknowledge

1. The main focus of the J&J talc litigation is their talcum powder/baby powder. Talc and asbestos are typically found near one another in deposits or mines. Talc mined from the earth can often be contaminated with asbestos. J&J obtained a collection of mines in Vermont in the 1960’s. J&J utilized the mine’s Hammondville deposit as its most precious resource for talc from the year 1966 until the year 1990. 

2. The J&J talc was contaminated with tremolite. J&J’s memos established that tremolite, a compound typically found in asbestos, was discovered in their talc. The report identified the compound as based on their unique appearance. Execs from the company were warned about the destructive effect of the compound from doctors specializing in this knowledge. In 1992 after J&J sold their Vermont mines, the owner referenced past issues of tremolite contamination in its talc from the Hammondville deposit. A Rutgers rock hound confirmed this reference when she uncovered  asbestos in J&J's  talcum powder in her 1991 research study, identifying the lengthy needle-like structures she uncovered as tremolite "asbestos" needles.

3. J&J's talc powder has been linked to a variety of cancers. The J&J talc legal action first began when their talc ended up being talc became linked to various cancers as time went on. J&J encountered lawsuits over this as early on as the 1990’s. Darlene Coker was one of the initial plaintiffs to file a lawsuit against the healthcare giant. Coker made the decision to sue J&J after a pathology test determined that a lung tissue sample of hers had thousands of lengthy fibers of 4 assorted kinds of asbestos. These types of asbestos were consistent to direct exposure to talc containing chrysotile and tremolite contamination. Coker passed away a few decades after she filed the lawsuit due to mesothelioma.

4. J and J recognized internally that their talcum powder contained asbestos. Reuters examined internal records from J&J in 2018 and these revealed  that their talcum powder was contaminated with carcinogenic asbestos in certain instances, and further, the company withheld this information from the public. 

5. J&J denied claims that their talcum powder was contaminated with asbestos. From the initial grievance acknowledged by Darlene Coker, the business publicly asserted there was no asbestos in their talcum powder.

6. J&J Concealed Asbestos Secrets for Years. J&J guaranteed the FDA that there was no asbestos to be located in any sample of their talc in-between the years of 1972 to 1973. J&J also failed to notify the FDA that at the very least 3 various labs from the years of 1972 to 1975 found asbestos in its talc, where certain levels of asbestos in the talc were reported to be “rather high” 

7. Lawsuits Emerged. 90's: Johnson and Johnson disclaimed the lab examination and the company was able to prevent the divulging of key documents about asbestos to the plaintiffs. Due to the fact that the plaintiff bears the burden of proof, with no evidence at hand, claimants had to drop the legal action entirely.

8. The Litigations Disclosed Hidden Truths. 2018: twenty years after the first lawsuit was dropped, the talc results and other crucial documents that the plaintiffs had sought for decades were inevitably divulged. Over 11,700 complainants brought these details to light.

9. Records Reveal J&J Was Untruthful. Deposition and trial testimony with further investigations disclosed from the years of 1971 to the early 2000’s, J&J’s raw talc powders that J&J’s raw talc as well as finished powders tested positive for trace amounts of asbestos. Some of the top executives of the company knew this information and yet fell short of revealing this to the correct authorities or the general public.  

10. Records Reveal J&J Developed Sponsored Studies In Their Favor. Records showed that J&J in essence created their own desired outcomes for research studied regarding asbestos in their products by explaining their biases to the scientists conducting the study, using their own employees in the studies, as well as sponsoring the studies. One example of this is a research study from the 1970’s was paid for by J&J, where the company paid for the study, told scientists the results they wanted, and hired ghost writers to redraft the study once it was complete to present the findings more favorably. The fact that J&J medical professionals were in charge of the study were not disclosed to the public. The research studies influence the entire healthcare industry. After the 1970’s study, the medical community was under the impression that J&J’s talc was not infected with asbestos but even if there were trace amounts, this was not concerning or worrying. 

What Phase Is The Talc Litigation In NOW

Private and Public Lawsuits all throughout the country make up a total of 19,000 plaintiffs taking legal action against J&J for their products causing their cancers. The lawsuits ultimately claim the same thing: that J&J’s talc products undoubtedly caused their cancers due to its contamination to asbestos.

Notable Cases

Some of the most significant private and class action cases have obtained notable class actions from $26 million, up to $4.7 billion. 

  1. $ 4.7 Billion Judgment for 22 Women (July 2018). One significant instance of a case against J&J is a Missouri lawsuit brought by 22 women claiming that J&J caused their cancers. This lawsuit in 2018 found in favor of the 22 women. The court found that J&J’s talcum powder did create ovarian cancer in the 22 women. The jury gave a total amount of 4.7 billion to the women. A court of appeals reduced this number to 2.1 billion due to reasons unrelated to the facts but instead a technical issue where most of the women were not from Missouri.
  1. Joanne Anderson v. Johnson and Johnson: Et Al-25 .7 million Judgment (May 2018). In May 2018, A Los Angeles court  gave a verdict of $21.7 million in compensatory damages as well as $4 million in punitive damages to Joanna Anderson. Anderson, 68, insisted that her frequent and continuous use of J&J's talc powder caused her cancer. J&J was made to pay 2/3rds of total judgment while various other pharmaceutical businesses and 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 provided $80 million in punitive damages as well as $37 million in compensatory damages to Stephen Lanzo and his wife. Lanzo was an investment banker. After some decades of consistent use of J&J’s products, Lanzo was diagnosed with mesothelioma. J&J asserted that Lanzo got mesothelioma due to the locations where he lived. The jury awarded Lanzo and his wife $117 million. J&J did appeal their judgment but the appellate court did not overturn the lower court’s judgment. 
  1. Lois Slemp v. Johnson & Johnson-$ 110 Million Judgment (May 2017). In May 2017, a St. Lewis court awarded $110 million to Lois Slemp from Wise, Virginia. Slemp declared that her consistent and frequent use of J&J's baby powder and other products for over 40 years caused her ovarian which ultimately spread to her liver. Slemp alleged that there was asbestos in the J&J products she made use of that was cancer causing. Slemp received $110 million from the company as her overall award while $105 of this was punitive. 
  1. Gloria Ristesund v. Johnson & Johnson- $55 Million Judgment (May 2016). In May 2016, a Missouri court awarded Gloria Ristesund $55 million after she used the J&J talcum powder and shower products on her pelvic are consistently for decades and later developed ovarian cancer. 

Why Is It Important

These talc lawsuits have become especially vital in working to shield future victims from the effects of asbestos contaminated talc. Further, these lawsuits work to prevent further damages by punishing the companies who are not truthful, and negatively impact the healthcare community.  

The World Health Organization with other authorities now recognize that there is no risk-free exposure to asbestos. Further, even trace amounts of the substance can cause cancer even years after exposure. Despite some investigations disclosing that J&J knew there was asbestos in their products, the company consistently denied these claims and continuously insisted that their products were asbestos free, risk-free, and did not cause cancer. 

Ongoing talc litigation has compelled J&J to remove all of their baby powder/talc products from store shelves. This could mean less contamination to asbestos and less future victims from these products. Much like the ongoing opioid litigation in the U.S. where victims of the opioid epidemic are. Taking on Purdue Pharma and Purdue has taken its marketing schemes elsewhere across the world, there are some concerns that J&J will not stop selling contaminated products. It is a concern that J&J could sell talc products worldwide where there is a market for them and less awareness of the asbestos concerns.

The punitive damages awarded in each lawsuit so far has shown that judges and juries across the nation will not allow a company to poison our nation and our people with consequence for their deceptive actions.

Who Has It Affected

The talcum powder litigation came about as a result of J&J consumers developing various types of cancers due to their use of the company’s talc and shower to shower products. Two major types of cancer caused by asbestos contamination or exposure are mesothelioma, as well as ovarian cancer. 

The first known case to be filed against J&J was filed by Darlene Coker. Coker ran a massage school in Texas and as a middle aged woman with no explanation developed mesothelioma. Tissue cells identified that her cancer was  brought on by asbestos. Her attorney filed a complaint against J&J with the knowledge that talc and asbestos occurred together in nature, and that his client used talc frequently in the form of the J&J baby powder product. 

J&J refuted all claims and was able to avoid divulging any type of record regarding their talc product. Coker was then forced to drop her lawsuit. 

Decades later, more and more legal actions piled on to the J&J load. These cases at last compelled the company to divulge the talc records, and as it turns out, Coker was correct. 

Internal records revealed that there was asbestos in J&J’s products and their initial claims were simply inaccurate. The company’s raw talc as well as finished product was found to have quantities of asbestos and even worrying high amounts in some cases. 

If you too, are a victim of asbestos contamination from using J&J’s talc products, reach out to an attorney at The Cochran Firm to aid you with your next legal action. 

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:

https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/johnsonandjohnson-cancer/

https://www.asbestos.com/asbestos/

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-johnson-johnson-babypowder/johnson-johnson-to-stop-selling-talc-baby-powder-in-u-s-and-canada-idUSKBN22V32U

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-44816805

https://www.usnews.com/news/business/articles/2020-06-23/appeals-court-reduces-j-j-talc-verdict-but-censures-company

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