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Some of the biggest cosmetics companies in the world are beginning to remove talc from the list of ingredients in their makeup products, likely due in no small part to the slew of multi-million-dollar verdicts being handed down by juries across the United States. Some of the high-profile companies that are considering removing the mineral from their cosmetics products include Chanel, Revlon, and L’Oreal. Pharmaceutical and cosmetics giant Johnson & Johnson, itself the target of thousands of talcum powder asbestos cancer lawsuits, recently announced it would no longer use talc in its iconic Baby Powder.

Luxury beauty company Chanel has removed talc minerals from one of its face powders and discontinued a talc-based body powder altogether due to the negative publicity talc-based cosmetics has received in months and years. Revlon, for its part, has ceased using talc altogether in its beauty products. Further, L’Oreal is in the process of finding alternatives for talc in its products as well. Although talc itself does not contain asbestos, the two are both naturally occurring minerals which can be found in deposits near one another, which can lead to cross contamination if precautions are not taken.

Since 2016, Chanel has faced a handful of lawsuits brought by plaintiffs who claim they developed serious forms of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos fibers in contaminated talc used in the company’s beauty products. In 2017, Chanel stopped producing a talcum powder body powder scented with its No. 5 fragrance, according to a deposition taken in a mesothelioma cancer lawsuit filed in a Los Angeles court.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently released the sixth and final part of its year-long sampling assignment of testing talc-based cosmetics products for asbestos contamination, which was performed by an outside laboratory. Those testing services were performed by Lanham, Maryland-based AMA Analytical Services, Inc. (AMA) and commenced in September 2018. AMA was selected because of its expertise and knowledge in asbestos testing, as well as having conducted a previous successful survey for the FDA.

The FDA contracted AMA to test talc-based cosmetics products such as makeup and Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder, which were selected and purchased by the FDA and provided to the laboratory as blinded samples. During the course of its testing, AMA found that nine of the 43 samples provided tested positive for asbestos contamination, including one lot of Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder, which was recalled in October 2019. Other cosmetics products which tested positive for asbestos included makeup produced and sold by Claire’s and City Color, some of which have been recalled.

The FDA selected the various products based on criteria such as the type of talc-based product, range of price, prevalence on social media and other advertisements, whether it was marketed as a children’s product, and whether the FDA had received third-party reports of asbestos contamination in the particular product. AMA’s testing procedures utilized Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM) and Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) to detect and quantify mineral particles which were suspected to perhaps be asbestos fibers. According to the FDA, TEM is the most sensitive testing method for detecting and quantifying asbestos minerals.

The Montana state supreme court recently handed down an important ruling in a class action asbestos lawsuit against the insurer of a long-time operator of a vermiculite mine and processing facility in the state, alleged to have caused the debilitating health conditions of local residents. The Court’s unanimous ruling will allow the plaintiffs to bring claims against Maryland Casualty Company, to potentially recover damages against the party for causing their asbestos-related conditions.

In her decision, Justice Ingrid Gustafson ruled that Maryland Casualty Company helped participate in W.R. Grace, the operator of the Libby vermiculite mine, conceal “known asbestos risk and worker injuries from workers.” Gustafson went on to write that Maryland Casualty Company “caused increased or prolonged exposure to asbestos, thereby increasing the risk of harm to workers beyond the pre-existing risk created by Grace.”

The case was originally brought by an employee of W.R. Grace in the late 1960s. The plaintiff claimed that he developed an asbestos-related condition while working at the company’s mill and operating equipment at the mine site. With the Montana state supreme court’s ruling, an estimated 800 other former W.R. Grace employees will be able to bring claims against Maryland Casualty Company for its failure to act responsibly.

A French luxury brand and two U.S. drugstore chains were recently hit with an asbestos cancer lawsuit by a 65-year-old Florida woman who claims she developed mesothelioma cancer from years of using products marketed and sold by the defendants. The lawsuit names Chanel SA, Publix, and Woolworth stores as the defendants and seeks compensation for her medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages as a result of the defendants’ negligence.

According to the asbestos cancer lawsuit, filed in a New York court, the victim developed her asbestos-related cancer from nearly 30 years of using Chanel’s after bath talcum powder products. The lawsuit also seeks to hold grocery store chain Publix and drugstore chain Woolworth stores responsible for selling the products which the plaintiff claims caused her cancer.

In her lawsuit, the victim claims that Chanel SA acted negligently when it failed to warn consumers about the known dangers of asbestos contamination in the talcum powder used to manufacture the products which she claims caused her cancer. The asbestos cancer lawsuit asserts that the known evidence of asbestos in talcum powder dates back to the 1930s and Chanel therefore should have provided warnings on the labels of its products to inform consumers of the risks.

Less than a year after being hit with an asbestos exposure lawsuit by city employees, the City of San Diego continues to grapple with the safety of its municipal workplaces and the health and safety of those employed by the city. The latest issues with the city stem from asbestos abatement in buildings owned or occupied by the city, and whether the city rushed both the abatement process and moving workers back into the renovated space before it was safe.

According to local media reports, the City of San Diego began moving city employees into a downtown building with several documented asbestos violations, which were discovered by the county’s Air Pollution Control District in the summer of 2019. One of those violations read in part, “Specifically, visible emissions were found on various floors inside the building that were exposed to the outside air.” City employees began moving into the building at 101 Ash Street in December 2019 — 1,100 in total according to local news stations.

Documented air pollution violations continued even after city employees moved into the building. The latest occurred the day after Christmas, just under two weeks after city workers moved in. While city officials continued to insist the building was safe, public outcry eventually led to those workers being evacuated and the premises closed to the public. The asbestos-related issues for the city continued.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently released the sixth and final part of its year-long sampling assignment of testing talc-based cosmetics products for asbestos contamination, which was performed by an outside laboratory. Those testing services were performed by Lanham, Maryland-based AMA Analytical Services, Inc. (AMA) and commenced in September 2018. AMA was selected because of its expertise and knowledge in asbestos testing, as well as having conducted a previous successful survey for the FDA.

The FDA contracted AMA to test talc-based cosmetics products such as makeup and Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder, which were selected and purchased by the FDA and provided to the laboratory as blinded samples. During the course of its testing, AMA found that nine of the 43 samples provided tested positive for asbestos contamination, including one lot of Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder, which was recalled in October 2019. Other cosmetics products which tested positive for asbestos included makeup produced and sold by Claire’s and City Color, some of which have been recalled.

The FDA selected the various products based on criteria such as the type of talc-based product, range of price, prevalence on social media and other advertisements, whether it was marketed as a children’s product, and whether the FDA had received third-party reports of asbestos contamination in the particular product. AMA’s testing procedures utilized Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM) and Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) to detect and quantify mineral particles which were suspected to perhaps be asbestos fibers. According to the FDA, TEM is the most sensitive testing method for detecting and quantifying asbestos minerals.

The Philadelphia school system recently agreed to a settlement in an asbestos cancer lawsuit with a long time teacher who claimed she developed a serious form of asbestos-related cancer as a result of working in dangerous conditions in the school system. As part of the settlement, the 30-year special education teacher will receive a total of $850,000 dollars to compensate her for her lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering of living with the disease.

According to the mesothelioma cancer lawsuit, filed in September 2019 in a Pennsylvania court in Philadelphia, the plaintiff worked in two 90-year-old, dilapidated school buildings with damaged asbestos pipe insulation. The plaintiff’s lawsuit recalls an instance where she came in direct contact with crumbling asbestos pieces, which she claims was one of the instances in which she was exposed to the deadly carcinogen which caused her mesothelioma cancer diagnosis. The plaintiff had hoped to continue working for at least another seven years but has been forced into retirement while she contemplates her treatment options moving forward in order to fight the disease.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral and was once commonly used in a variety of industrial, construction, and military applications due to its heat resistant properties and ability to be shaped to fit a variety of needs, particularly in insulation for pipes. However, asbestos is also carcinogenic and is directly linked to developing mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of cancer which affects thin linings of tissue surrounding vital organs such as the lungs, heart, and abdominal cavity. Mesothelioma is often not diagnosed until decades after exposure, which often leaves patients with diminished treatment options to fight the disease.

A New Jersey state jury recently handed down a substantial $750 million verdict to plaintiffs during the punitive damages phase of the trial after already handing down a multimillion dollar verdict on the victim’s behalf during the main phase of the trial last year. The four victorious plaintiffs brought their talcum powder asbestos cancer lawsuit against New Jersey-based pharmaceutical and cosmetics giant Johnson & Johnson, claiming the company knowingly sold cosmetics products containing deadly carcinogens.

In September 2109, a Middlesex County jury handed down a $37.3 million verdict on behalf of the plaintiffs after a nearly two-month trial, during which time they were presented with compelling testimony detailing Johnson & Johnson’s decades long knowledge about the possibility of asbestos contamination in its iconic Baby Powder. The cosmetic product is made from talc, one of the softest known minerals, and used in a variety of other products including Johnson & Johnson’s Shower to Shower.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs told jurors how the plaintiffs developed various forms of cancer, including mesothelioma, from years of using Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder. Jurors were presented with internal Johnson & Johnson documents which showed executives knew as far back as the 1970s that its talc-based products were testing positive for deadly asbestos fibers.

Multinational cosmetics company Revlon Inc. was recently hit with a talc asbestos cancer lawsuit over allegations that the company used asbestos-contaminated talc in its cosmetics products, which caused the plaintiff’s mesothelioma cancer diagnosis. The lawsuit was brought by a Maryland couple in New York state court and seeks tens of millions of dollars in compensatory and punitive damages as well as damages for the emotional damages suffered by the victim’s husband.

According to the asbestos talcum powder lawsuit, the plaintiff developed mesothelioma from using Jean Nate Silkening Body Powder and other Revlon products that her father provided for her while she was growing up. The victim claims that those products contained talc, a mineral often used in consumer cosmetics products, which was contaminated with cancer-causing asbestos fibers. The lawsuit alleges that Revlon, along with chemicals distributor Whittaker Clark & Daniels Inc., failed to warn consumers about the risks associated with exposure to asbestos-contaminated talc.

The victim’s asbestos cancer lawsuit seeks $20 million in compensatory damages for medical bills and pain and suffering, $40 million in punitive damages for what she claims is especially negligent conduct on the part of the defendants, and an additional $5 million in damages for her husband for his mental anguish and loss of companionship as a result of his wife’s mesothelioma diagnosis.

The National Institutes of Health recently bestowed a five-year $2.6 million grant to researchers at the University of Hawaii Cancer Center to examine the role that certain genes may play in asbestos-related cancer and whether certain cell mutations may play a role in the survival of patients. The research team will be led by esteemed researchers Michele Cabrone and Haining Yang and look into the role of the BAP1 gene in human cancer development and cell metabolism.

“This grant adds to our two already funded NIH grants and one grant from the Department of Defense, confirming the leadership of the Hawaii team as the top federally-funded research team in the U.S. to conduct research on mesothelioma, a cancer developed frequently in those exposed to asbestos,” said Carbone.

Carbone is distinguished for his discovery of the role that genes play in mesothelioma while studying a cancer epidemic in remote villages of Turkey. He and Yang further collaborated by studying mesothelioma genetics by conducting studies of families in the United States who have a high incidence of cancer, during which time they discovered a condition the pair termed “BAP1 cancer syndrome.”

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