$117 Million Talc Cancer Verdict Overturned As Expert Witness Credibility Takes Center Stage

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It was not unexpected since the expert witnesses presented by the plaintiffs failed to pass muster

Monday, May 31, 2021 - A New Jersey court of appeals has overturned the 2018 jury verdict against Johnson & Johnson and their talc supplier Imerys Inc. that had awarded a New Jersey banker with mesothelioma $117 million. The appeals court decided that New Jersey banker Steven Lanzo III‘s attorneys erred in presenting expert witness testimony and granted the two co-defendants a new trial. According to Bloomberg, "The appeals court concluded Judge Ana Viscomi erred in allowing two experts to testify certain minerals found in talc deposits could cause mesothelioma." Mr. Lanzo had alleged that using Johnson‘s Baby Powder as a body deodorant after and in between showering for many years led to his developing mesothelioma, a rare form of asbestos-related cancer of the lining of the lungs. Applying talc on the body by squeezing the bottle can cause an inhalable cloud of talc dust, allegedly contaminated with asbestos, to occur. Interesting to note is that the facts presented by experts testifying for Lanzo were considered "junk science" by defense lawyers, and the appeals court agreed. Since the trial, however, Daubert hearings have taken place where a federal judge has interviewed experts on both sided and decided which experts can testify for each side and which ones may not. The judge decided that it is up to juries to decide which experts to believe after reviewing the medical science and investigated the expert witness‘ credibility for nine months before rendering his decision. Visit talcum powder cancer lawsuit to learn more.

Since the Lonzo mesothelioma trial, the US Food and Drug Administration has tested and found asbestos in bottles of Johnson‘s Baby Powder purchased from retailers Walmart, Rite Aid, and CVS. Johnson & Johnson recalled the batch of 33,000 bottles of baby powder from which the test bottle came. More than 25,000 people have filed suit against Johnson & Johnson for failing to warn consumers that asbestos lurked in their talc supply, forcing Johnson & Johnson to set aside $3.9 billion in reserve to pay potential legal fees, a fact that a Reuter‘s investigative report told readers that internal Johnson & Johnson memos unsealed in court indicate the company has known since the early 1970s In 2020, Johnson & Johnson settled about 1000 Johnson‘s Baby Powder cancer claims for $100 million. Imery‘s Inc., Johnson & Johnson‘s talc supplier, declared bankruptcy after being named co-defendant with Johnson & Johnson and others in many talc asbestos lawsuits. The company sold its North American talc mining operations to a company that uses talc for industrial purposes and set the proceeds into escrow to pay talc cancer liability judgments and settlements. Talc and asbestos are nearly identical and interlaced with one another in the ground. Once contaminated, there is no way to remove asbestos from talc. The FDA and other scientists agree that there is no safe amount of ingesting asbestos and that a microscopic particle could cause mesothelioma or ovarian cancer.