Mesothelioma is widely thought of as a disease that afflicts those working in industrial and construction settings or in the Armed Forces — try to picture a mesothelioma victim and you likely picture a factory worker, a shipyard worker, or a Naval veteran. But a trial that’s been going on in a New Jersey courtroom for the last several weeks turns that idea on its head, and is striking fear in consumers all across the country: a 46-year-old banker diagnosed with the rare and fatal form of cancer is suing pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson, claiming that there was asbestos in its iconic baby powder and that it was responsible for his illness.
Stephen Lanzo’s mesothelioma lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson indicates that, like millions of other Americans, he has used their baby powder product as part of his daily hygiene routine ever since he was a child. The evidence that he has submitted in support of his case relies heavily on a confidential internal memo written by a Johnson & Johnson company scientist in 1969, warning that the company would be vulnerable to legal action were the public ever to learn of the presence of asbestos in their talc-based product. Asbestos is a mineral that is often found in close proximity to talc deposits, and there is a long history of talc being contaminated with the carcinogenic material. Though Johnson & Johnson has defended itself and argued that their product has never contained asbestos, the memo has been cause for concern, and this is far from the first asbestos-related lawsuit that the company is facing over their product. In addition to being blamed for consumers’ mesothelioma diagnosis, the company has been the subject of lawsuits charging that asbestos in their talcum powder products has caused ovarian cancer.
Both Mr. Lanzo’s attorneys and Johnson & Johnson’s attorneys have given their closing arguments and the case is now in the hands of the jury. While court watchers and mesothelioma victims await the verdict, others diagnosed with the disease pursue their own challenges. If you need information on the options available to you, contact us today at 1-800-966-2244.