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California Jury Awards Vietnam Veteran $4.8 Million in Asbestos Talcum Powder Lawsuit

Posted by Michael Throneberry | May 09, 2021

A California jury recently handed down a substantial multi-million-dollar verdict in an asbestos cancer case brought on behalf of a 78-year-old Vietnam War veteran who passed away from mesothelioma due to exposure to carcinogens in the cosmetics product he used for decades. In their verdict, the jury saw fit to hold talc supplier Whittaker Clark & Daniels, formerly one of the world's largest suppliers of cosmetic talc, responsible for the victim's cancer diagnosis and awarded his estate $4.8 million in total damages.

According to the asbestos cancer lawsuit, filed in March 2018 in Los Angeles County Superior Court, the now-deceased plaintiff developed mesothelioma cancer from over 20 years of using Old Spice Talcum Powder produced with talc supplied by defendant Whittaker Clark & Daniels, which was purchased by chemical distributor Brenntag in 1998. At trial, attorneys for the plaintiff's estate presented evidence that Whittaker Clark & Daniels knew for years about the risk of asbestos contamination in the talc it supplied for products like Old Spice but chose to continue with its practices.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that can often be found in deposits near those of talc, also a naturally occurring mineral. Asbestos itself was once used for decades in a variety of commercial, industrial, and military applications for its heat-resistant properties and ability to be molded to fit a variety of uses, particularly as insulation and gasket-making materials. While the health risks of asbestos exposure has been known for decades, companies continued to use and supply asbestos containing products.

Much in the same way, some cosmetics companies were also aware of the presence of asbestos in their talc-based products but nonetheless kept these items on store shelves. Perhaps the most infamous of these companies is pharmaceutical and cosmetics giant Johnson & Johnson, which finds itself embroiled in an estimated 20,000 talcum powder asbestos cancer lawsuits in state and federal courts across the country. Despite the mountains of litigation and evidence against it, Johnson & Johnson has yet to settle many of the cases against it and has instead chosen to deny, delay, and defend otherwise meritorious claims against the company.

To date, state juries have handed down billions of dollars in plaintiffs' verdicts, finding Johnson & Johnson and its talc supplier Imerys Talc USA liable for the various forms of cancer, including mesothelioma, that plaintiffs have claimed they suffered from due to use of the companies' products. Most of the litigation surrounding Johnson & Johnson centers around its iconic Baby Powder product, though other suits allege that plaintiffs developed mesothelioma from using Shower to Shower, as well.

Arizona Mesothelioma Lawyer

If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help pay for your medical treatment to help you and your family live a more comfortable life.

About the Author

Michael Throneberry

Attorney Michael Throneberry graduated from Purdue University with a Civil Engineering degree. He then served with the United States Army...

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