J&J Lawyer Says Company Went to Extraordinary Lengths to Avoid Asbestos
As the sixth Johnson & Johnson mesothelioma-related trial began this week, an attorney for the defendant argued that the pharmaceutical and personal products giant “went to extraordinary lengths” to keep toxic asbestos out of its talc-based products, including its famous Baby Powder.
Attorney Christopher Vejnoska told the jury that J&J constantly sampled its talc products, according to Courtroom View Network, which is following the trial.
“Johnson & Johnson’s talc products were not contaminated with asbestos,” he said. “That didn’t happen by accident. That didn’t happen by luck. It happened because Johnson & Johnson went to extraordinary lengths to ensure that its products were not contaminated and to be sure that people could trust those products.”
But the attorney for the current plaintiff, Carolyn Weirick of California, doesn’t agree with that testimony. He argued that his 59-year-old client got mesothelioma due to extended use of the company’s Baby Powder, which has long been the go-to talcum powder for infants and children. Weirick was diagnosed with the disease in 2017 and has never worked with asbestos in any capacity, which is how most victims generally develop the disease.
“This case is about trust,” her attorney told jurors. “This case is about a breach of that trust by Johnson & Johnson first, joined by Imerys (the co-defendant and supplier of talc to J&J), throughout my client’s lifetime.
The trust that we’re talking about is a trust that’s been carefully cultivated over 100 years.”
He also argued that testing methods used by J&J are flawed and outdated, inadequate for detecting the miniscule asbestos fibers that are often found in talc.
It’s hard to say which way the jury will go in the sixth trial alleging that J&J knew about its asbestos problem but told no one, including its customers.
Two have ended in mistrials, two found in favor of plaintiffs, and one was a victory for J&J. Just recently, in Middlesex County, NJ – just up the road from Johnson & Johnson headquarters – the plaintiff in that case was granted an award of $117 million when the jury determined that the company was indeed negligent in reporting asbestos contamination.