Articles Posted in Mesothelioma Case

In a series of pre-trial Daubert hearings, a U.S. District Court is weighing the qualifications of scientific experts in mesothelioma lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson over talc baby powder products that allegedly caused ovarian cancer and mesothelioma. The ruling will impact some 12,000 cases pending before the New Jersey federal court.mesothelioma lawsuit

Plaintiff scientific experts are being vetted after a motion by defense attorneys to exclude those witnesses, arguing their scientific testimony fails to meet the stringent criteria of the Daubert standard, set by the 1993 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Plaintiffs dispute this, arguing the talc powder defendant company sold contained carcinogenic asbestos and asbestos fibers, resulting in their developing cancer.

Daubert hearings are common in mass torts, particularly those in mesothelioma product liability lawsuits, as they involve issues of exposure and causation – key to establishing liability in this multi-district litigation. The defendant company’s effort to dismiss all of plaintiffs’ expert witnesses would effectively result in the end of litigation for these plaintiffs because without that testimony, they won’t have enough proof of their claim.

So far, none of the claims in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey case 3:16-md-02738  have been scheduled for trial. Continue reading

If ever there was proof that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is derelict in its duty to protect the public, perhaps it’s the news this week that Sri Lanka is the latest nation to ban import of Johnson and Johnson’s baby powder, amid growing proof of asbestos contamination. The Daily Mail reports the license for A.Baur & Co to import the product expired in December, the Daily Mail reported. gavel2-300x200

Our Massachusetts mesothelioma lawyers reported late last year that Johnson & Johnson continues to defend itself from liability over asbestos contamination in its iconic baby powder. A report by Reuters News Service claimed Johnson & Johnson knew for years its baby powder contained asbestos but did not warn the public. Meanwhile, a New Jersey court has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $80 million in damages to a man who said the talcum powder was responsible for his diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma.

Johnson and Johnson disputes the Reuters report as it continues to defend itself against an avalanche of civil lawsuits. Meanwhile, you can still buy the company’s talcum powder at virtually any store in the United States.

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Trust funds may already be available for victims of mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases.

Mesothelioma is a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. With a latency period of 30-40 years, most diagnosed are senior citizens exposed to asbestos in the 1960s, 1970s, or 1980s. A naturally-occurring mineral used for its insulating and fire-retardant properties, its carcinogenic properties were hidden for decades by some of the nation’s largest corporations. At the height of asbestos use, American corporations mined nearly 1 million tons of the mineral and used it to manufacture more than 3,000 different products.gavel-300x199

Unfortunately for victims, time is often far too short after diagnosis. Those diagnosed have a median survival of just 18 months. Having access to a trust fund can provide assurance and peace of mind. However, asbestos litigation is among the most complex areas of product liability, personal injury and wrongful death law.

Whenever a plaintiff (or plaintiff’s surviving family members) files a mesothelioma lawsuit in Boston, we are dealing with what is known as a products liability matter. A products liability matter involves a plaintiff who was injured or killed as a result of product manufactured, sold, or distributed by defendant.  In many cases there will be multiple defendants as the law allows plaintiffs to sue anyone in the supply chain of a product as long as they actually had some role in getting the product to the injured plaintiff.  It is possible there must be levels of liability apportioned among the parties, but the courts often leave this job up to defendants as they are in a better position to do so, and it should not matter to plaintiff which company pays which portion of the damages awarded in the event of a successful Boston mesothelioma case.

Theories of Liability in Boston Mesothelioma Cases

asbestos lawsuits BostonAs with any products liability case, there are a variety of legal theories or “causes of action” that may be pleaded in a complaint for damages as dictated by the facts of a case. There can always be the common law claim of negligence, which involves the elements of duty, breach, causation and damages, but there are also claims specific to products liability cases and they are as follows:

  1. Failure to Adequately Warn of a  Known Danger.
  2. Manufacturer or Sale of a Defective Product.

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There are many old buildings in Boston including closed factories, churches, the ubiquitous three-decker homes and many other types of structures that have fallen into a state of disrepair. Instead of demolishing these old buildings, industry trends and historic codes are leading people to purchase the buildings and covert them into alternative use residential dwellings. An old church in South Boston is now a high value condo building, and this is a continually growing trend.

asbestos lawsuits BostonOne of the features of these alternative use residences is that those living there like the vintage feel so developers try to find vintage materials so they can be “repurposed” for use in the condos.   Whether we are talking about old wood from a ship or factory, or an old industrial wire spool as a table, vintage items are a hot commodity. Even homeowners who purchase a three-decker with the intention of rehabilitation like to shop at thrift stores and sellers of reclaimed building materials for inspiration and supplies and some of these supplies contain asbestos.

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In the span of two weeks, two juries in Massachusetts have rendered multi-million dollar verdicts in favor of plaintiffs in mesothelioma lawsuits. According to a recent news article form EHS Today, in the second of the two cases, the plaintiff started working as an insulator part-time when he was in high school.

Boston mesothelioma lawsuits Following high school, plaintiff got a job repairing boilers.  Insulation was very commonly made entirely out of asbestos products.  The deadly fibers were either spun into sheets like we see with fiberglass insulation, or it was kept lose and spaying into the walls by construction crews on the job. Continue reading

Boston mesothelioma lawsuits can be considerably more complicated than other types of personal injury lawsuits. One reason is there often multiple defendants, and all the defendants may be large corporations or asbestos bankruptcy trusts of formerly large corporations with the resources and expertise to fight a plaintiff fiercely. This is true even when they are clearly in the wrong and responsible for plaintiff’s malignant mesothelioma.

Boston Asbestos Lawsuit

Calculating damages in a case with multiple defendants can be a complex and drawn-out process. Settlements and verdicts tend to depend on:

  • Claimant’s medical history;
  • Proof of negligence;
  • Where the claim is filed;
  • Lost wages/ medical bills;
  • Number of defendants.

Courts aim to assign proportionate liability. That is, each defendant is responsible to pay their own share for damages inflicted. Calculating these percentages can be a complex task.

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While we largely think of asbestos and mesothelioma cases as being civil matters these days, there are various times where state and federal prosecutors will also file criminal charges for alleged violations of environmental regulations and labor laws that breach workers’ rights and safety.

gavel21According to recent news article from WAND 17 News, a man has just pleaded guilty to numerous federal charges that stemmed from allegations of illegal asbestos removal from an old factory in Springfield. Continue reading

A recent case from the California Court of Appeal – First Appellate District, deals with what is known as a secondary exposure asbestos case. As the name implies, primary exposure to asbestos occurs when the victim works or lives in an environment where they are being directly exposed to asbestos from the source of contamination. If someone works on a ship, for example, and that ship has asbestos insulation, as most of them did, they would be victims of primary asbestos exposure, and this can obviously cause malignant mesothelioma.

asbestos bootsBecause it typically takes between 20 and 50 years for a person to become noticeably sick with malignant mesothelioma, we are typically seeing cases today where the initial exposure happened decades ago.   Studies have shown that most of these victims of primary exposure are men, because it was more common for men to be working in heavy industry at that time. Prior to that, women worked in industry during World War II, and there were many mesothelioma victims from this group of workers. Continue reading

BorgWarner Inc., a Michigan-based company that supplies turborcharger and emissions systems to the auto industry, recently reported a one-time charge of $411 million, which it is setting aside for future asbestos exposure liability claims. gear

That’s according to Crain’s Detroit Business, which reports the charge resulted in a net loss in the company’s fourth quarter of $293 million.

Now of course, this might sound like a lot, but consider that the company’s revenue during that quarter rose by more than 6 percent to $2.3 billion, from $2.1 billion just a year earlier. A big part of that was owing to a 20 percent increase in drivetrain division sales. Net revenue for the year is up to $9.1 billion. When you consider this, that $411 million seems far less substantial, especially when noting how many thousands of asbestos injury claims are likely to arise in the coming years. The supplier figured the $411 million by calculating its estimated costs for indemnity and defense of pending and future asbestos-related claims, which could stretch into the next five decades.  Continue reading

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