Articles Posted in Boston Mesothelioma

There is a common misconception that long-term cigarette smokers don’t have a claim for asbestos exposure in the event of a mesothelioma or lung cancer diagnosis.railroad-300x225

But Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail) is only the latest and most recent example of a corporate defendant losing that argument. Last week, an Appeals Court rejected the company’s appeal of a $2.3 million jury award after the jury rejected Contrail’s argument that cigarette smoking was solely responsible for the plaintiff’s lung cancer, despite extensive exposure to asbestos on the job. The justices ruled the victim had met his legal burden of proof by presenting enough evidence to show exposure to asbestos was a substantial contributing factor to his cancer.

That’s the legal requirement: Substantial contributing factor. While a victim’s own negligent behavior (like smoking) may be taken into account, it does not absolve a defendant from all liability.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the first new treatment for mesothelioma in more than 15 years.

NovoTTF-100L System (Novocure), in combination with pemetrexed plus platinum-based chemotherapy, has been approved as a first-line treatment for cases of unresectable locally advanced or metastatic malignant pleural mesothelioma. Mesothelioma’s long latency period means most victims have in an advanced stage upon diagnosis. Cases that are locally advanced, or which ave spread to other organs, are typically deemed inoperable. Boston asbestos attorney

The NovoTTF-100L System is non-invasive. The treatment uses electric fields, known as Tumor Treating Fields, to disrupt cancer-cell division. Approval followed the STELLAR trial, which evaluated effectiveness of the treatment. Our Massachusetts mesothelioma lawyers know such treatment innovations are critical because fewer than 20 percent of patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma are candidates for surgical tumor removal due to diagnosis at an advanced stage of the disease.

The clinical trial, held at cancer centers across Europe, included 80 patients with unresectable, previously untreated, malignant pleural mesothelioma. The results were presented in September 2018 at the 19th annual World Conference on Lung Cancer.

“NovoTTF-100L provides unresectable MPM patients with a treatment option that may improve survival,” said Mary Hesdorffer,  executive director of the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation. Results showed that patients treated with NovoTTF-100L plus chemotherapy had a median overall survival of 18.2 months (95% CI 12.1-25.8), while median progression free survival (secondary endpoint) was 7.6 months. Those results are about six months longer than for those patients who only receive chemotherapy treatment.

While such treatment advances are welcome, it is the work being done in the courtroom to hold these companies responsible that will ultimately do the most to protect American consumers.

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The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recently ruled against a mesothelioma victim who sued GE for asbestos exposure during his career building power plants in the 1970s.gavel21-300x200

The ruling is the latest to tackle the issue of statutes of limitations in cases where diagnosis is made decades after exposure. Auto manufacturers have won similar verdicts in cases where it could not be determined whether a victim’s exposure was caused by original or replacement parts installed during routine maintenance.

The verdict in Sterns v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. No. SJC-12544 is the latest to tackle the issue of the long dormancy period between asbestos exposure and a mesothelioma diagnosis, which is also an intense focus of medical researchers who continue to search for a cure. Our Massachusetts mesothelioma lawyers continue to follow each of these high-court decisions that impact mesothelioma victims and their families.

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Shares of Johnson & Johnson were down in mid-week trading after a California Jury awarded $29 million to a woman who said asbestos in the company’s talcum powder products caused her mesothelioma. Our mesothelioma lawyers in Massachusetts continue to carefully follow each of these talcum powder cases and are committed to fighting for the rights of women and children who have been harmed. talcumpowder-300x225

CNBC reports Johnson & Johnson is facing thousands of similar lawsuits as it continues to insist its talcum powder is safe and free of asbestos. The company said it would appeal the verdict, which occurred in California Superior Court in Oakland.

More than 13,000 talcum-related law suits have been filed. Johnson & Johnson lost a similar case in Los Angeles last year, where a jury delivers a $21.7 million verdict. The company also failed to reverse a $4 billion verdict in Missouri, where 22 women had blamed their ovation cancer on use of Johnson Johnson products. Johnson & Johnson is one of the nation’s largest consumer product companies and is currently valued at  more than $350 billion.

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2018 brought some advances in treatment and some legal victories for mesothelioma victims and their advocates.

The liability of Johnson & Johnson over asbestos contaminated talcum powder was probably the biggest headline of the year. But our Massachusetts mesothelioma lawyers have noted a number of legal and medical victories this year.talcumpowder-300x225

The Johnson & Johnson case illustrates why litigation is a primary threat to these companies. Internal documents, memos, emails and other evidence continue to show defendant companies often ignored or supressed evidence, while marketing their deadly products as safe for use by consumers. In 2016, J & J and other defendants suffered three large verdicts for exposure to its baby powder in St. Louis, Mo.: $72 million, $70 million and $55 million. In 2017, the American Bar Association identified talcum powder liability as a material threat to defendants and the insurance industry.

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In most cases, asbestos exposure occurs when a person is working in an environment where deadly asbestos fibers are present. Decades ago when asbestos was used in a wide variety of industries, millions of workers were exposed to asbestos while working in factories or working on construction projects, not to mention the countless number of workers who were exposed while working in the asbestos mining and production industry.

Boston mesothelioma Lawyers There are however some cases where asbestos exposure occurred due to exposure from common products found in the home.  In these cases, we are often dealing with children who were exposed at a young age, and then became very sick much earlier in life than typical mesothelioma plaintiffs in the Greater Boston area. Continue reading

According to a recent News Article from The Guardian, Johnson & Johnson has been found liable in a class action lawsuit in which 22 women alleged to have developed ovarian cancer after years of using talc products manufactured by the defendant.  In this case, the jury awarded $4.7 billion in damages to the various plaintiffs.

asbestos exposure attorneyCourt records indicated six of the 22 plaintiffs died from ovarian cancer, and the jury was convinced by allegations Johnson & Johnson took conscious efforts to cover up the fact that there was asbestos present in many of the company’s products through more than four decades of marketing them to consumers. Continue reading

For more than a hundred years beginning with the Industrial Revolution in the United States and parts of Europe, asbestos was used in many industries including manufacturing, residential, commercial, and industrial construction, and countless other applications. At first, asbestos was used for its excellent ability to withstand extreme heat, fire, caustic chemicals, and electricity.

Boston AsbestosIt was actually around 2,000 years ago when humans first discovered these properties, and began to extract the naturally occurring silica-based minerals from the ground, and even at this time, there were historical documents uncovered showing there was a concern the substance could be toxic.  While it wasn’t until 1924 when the first case of mesothelioma was officially diagnosed, it was known that people exposed were dying decades later.   As discussed in an scientific article from the British Medical Journal, this discovery came from research on the hazards then being linked to what was still being referred to as the magic mineral. Continue reading

Many homes in Boston were built over a hundred years ago, and renovated many decades ago, if they were renovated at all. Many homes renovated between the 1950s and the 1980s feature what has been called a popcorn ceiling. Even if you do not have a popcorn ceiling in your home now, you have likely seen one.  They are created by spraying on or painting on a textured level giving it a popcorn-like look. There are a few claimed reasons this was done, from reducing noise from people walking above, which was helpful in any multi-family dwelling, to making it much harder to see any imperfections in the ceiling plaster or drywall.  A large ceiling space, which is flat, will easily show off any imperfections in the material.

Mesothelioma LawyersThe main reason, however, they were so heavily used is because they became very popular in the 1960s,and this continued until the late 1970s.  The problem with ceilings today, aside from looking outdated, is the popcorn material was largely created with white asbestos fibers.  This made it very dangerous to those who were painting the ceilings and many of these victims developed the deadly form of cancer known as mesothelioma decades later as it will typically take between 20 and 50 years for those exposed to asbestos to develop symptoms, forcing them to go to a doctor for a diagnosis. Continue reading

Mesothelioma lawsuits in Boston are significantly different from many other types of personal injury lawsuits and products liability actions. One of the major reasons deals with when the injury is discovered and when a suit can be brought. In most personal injury cases, the statute of limitations begins to run as soon as the injury occurs.   The specific statutes of limitations for various civil actions are found in Chapter 260 of the Massachusetts General Laws (M.G.L.).

asbestos BostonFor example, pursuant to Section 2A of the M.G.L., a tort action for a personal injury lawsuit filed in Boston must be brought within three years of when the cause of action arises, which is usually the time of the injury or onset of the illness.  Continue reading