California Jury Awards $22 Million in Talc Asbestos Trial

A California jury has awarded $22 million in a talc asbestos trial.  The award went to the estate of a man exposed to paint contaminated with asbestos.  The jury award also broadens the liability of talc makers.

Richard Booker died in 2016 of mesothelioma.  He had worked as a paint maker for several years, during which time he was exposed to asbestos-containing talc.  The lawsuit filed by the estate of Mr. Booker charges that he was exposed to asbestos while working for Walter N. Boysen Paint Co. and Dexter Midland Chemical Co.

Related:  Talcum Mesothelioma Cancer Lawsuit

$22 Million Award
The $22 million award includes $4.6 million in punitive damages, in addition to $17.57 million for malice. The jury ruled that Imerys Talc America Inc. and Vanderbilt Minerals were jointly responsible for selling, marketing and distributing the asbestos-tainted talc.

The jury in the Superior Court of California for Alameda County ruled that Mr. Booker’s mesothelioma was caused by asbestos exposure in the talc used to make paint during his career.

Other Talc Mesothelioma Verdicts

The California verdict follows several other recent multi-million dollar jury awards for plaintiffs who died of mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos in talcum powder.

In 2017, Colgate-Palmolive was ordered by a jury to pay $1.4 million to a woman who was diagnosed with mesothelioma after using Cashmere Bouquet talcum powder.   Some studies showed that the product contained up to 20% asbestos during the 1970s.

In addition, Colgate-Palmolive also recently paid an undisclosed settlement in a similar talc-related mesothelioma lawsuit.  Plaintiffs  in all these cases claim their asbestos  exposure was caused by their breathing it.

Failure to Warn, Design Defect, Negligence
The California jury ruled for the plaintiff, Mr. Booker, on three basic causes of action:  1.) failure to warn, 2.) product design defect, 3.) negligence.

Imerys Talc
Imerys continues to insist that its talc product is safe, despite this verdict against the company and a few others. The largest talc producer in the world, Imerys is expected to file an appeal demanding the jury verdict be thrown out due to a lack of scientific evidence. Imerys’ appeal will likely argue, as it had in the trial, that the scientific evidence does not prove that Imerys talc caused Mr. Booker’s mesothelioma.

Talc-containing Asbestos
Researchers, meanwhile, continue to debate the safety of talc, a clay mineral containing hydrated magnesium silicate. Past talc products contained trace amounts of asbestos dust. In paint, talc is used for heat resistance, and to prevent oil absorption. It is also used in talcum powder, insecticides, ceramics, roofing materials, and in pulp and paper industry products.

Is Talc Asbestos Free Today?
Today, new regulations require talc to be asbestos-free. Talc lawsuits being filed today often stem from exposure decades ago. Most cases involve ovarian cancer from products like Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder or Shower to Shower; but some talc lawsuits involve mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma from Talc Exposure
Exposure to asbestos is the leading cause of mesothelioma, an aggressive form of cancer that is usually a death sentence.

California Jury Awards $22 Million in Talc Asbestos Trial
Mr. Booker’s case comes at a time when several companies, including Johnson & Johnson and Colgate Palmolive, are being sued for talc-containing products, which plaintiffs argue can cause ovarian cancer.

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