The Law Offices of Wallace & Graham
Helping Asbestos & Mesothelioma Victims Nationwide Call for a Free Consultation

North Carolina Asbestos Law Blog

Johnson & Johnson wins asbestos talc lawsuit

Our previous North Carolina blog posts have reported on the product liability lawsuits facing companies, like Johnson & Johnson (J&J), Whittaker, Colgate-Palmolive, Clark & Daniels and Justice for their talcum powder products. J&J has consistently maintained its innocence, denying that its products contain asbestos and claiming that its talcum powder is safe.

J&J faces about 5,500 lawsuits over talc-related claims based on allegations that the company failed to warn women about the risk of developing ovarian cancer from using its products. Five trials in Missouri found J&J liable for plaintiffs' ovarian cancer and the plaintiffs were awarded $307 million. However, a Missouri judge threw out the first verdict for $72 million.

Can you sue while getting workers' compensation?

Like other states in the country, North Carolina has a workers' compensation system that is there to protect this state's workers when they get injured or sick while on the job. When a worker dies because of, for example, cancer related to asbestos exposure at work, then the worker's family can get some financial help through workers' compensation survivor benefits.

Our law office helps grieving families with workers' compensation claims for survivor benefits. However, even if those claims are completely successful in all respects, it does not mean that the benefits will cover all of the lost income and expenses associated with a loved one's untimely death. There is usually a cap on how much workers' compensation will pay.

Fighting for victims of talcum powder-related ovarian cancer

Many North Carolinians, like people all over the world, use talcum powder as part of their daily hygiene routine. Recently, there has been an influx of product liability cases due to talcum powder's cancer-causing ingredients. Companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Colgate-Palmolive, Whittaker, Clark & Daniels and Justice have all faced many lawsuits by victims alleging exposure to their asbestos-containing products. These companies often deny the dangerousness of their products; however, many people bringing products liability lawsuits have been able to recover compensation for their illnesses.

At the Law Offices of Wallace & Graham, we are dedicated to helping asbestos and mesothelioma victims in North Carolina and nationwide. We are experienced in bringing companies such as Johnson & Johnson to justice for their actions. Evidence shows that these companies knew about the risks associated with their products for decades, yet they still continued to produce and market them to the public.

Another talcum powder mesothelioma case moves forward

North Carolinians may be interested to know that an appeals court recently allowed a 70-year-old woman to move forward with her product liability lawsuit against Colgate-Palmolive, the manufacturers of Cashmere Bouquet talcum powder. She alleges that the company's asbestos-containing products led to her development of mesothelioma after more than 20 years of daily use. According to the woman, her mother powdered her as a child after every bath, and she continued to regularly use the product.

Earlier this year, Johnson & Johnson, Whittaker, Clark & Daniels and Justice faced similar lawsuits for its talcum powder products as well. People are increasingly beginning to question whether talcum products are safe. Despite federal regulations requiring products to undergo a filtering process to remove harmful substances, like asbestos, many are still contaminated with asbestos ingredients.

Off-roading may lead to asbestos exposure

According to a recent study, North Carolinians, like the rest of the country, using off-road vehicles (ORVs), such as all-terrain vehicles, four-wheel-drive vehicles and off-road motorcycles, may be exposed to naturally occurring asbestos fibers. When driving these ORVs, dust is often kicked-up which can put drivers at risk of asbestos exposure.

One study found that nearly 80 percent of ORV trails in the west and southwest parts of the United States are within 20 miles of substantial asbestos deposits. These states were found to have 655 mineral fiber occurrences, 241 of which were located within five miles of an ORV trail and 150 within one mile of an ORV trail, according to the study's authors. The study, published in the International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, identified 3,745 miles of trails that are in range of an asbestos deposit.

Study confirms diet has impact on mesothelioma survival

North Carolinians would likely be interested in a new mesothelioma study. The study, conducted by Johns Hopkins and Drexel University, reveals that survivors of mesothelioma and other cancers may not be following appropriate dietary guidelines to increase their survivability. Participants in the study -- 53 survivors of breast, prostate and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma -- were asked to track their diets over three days.

The participants' diet journals were referenced during discussions regarding dietary behaviors and the importance of healthy eating in cancer prevention and survivorship. Researchers discovered that most of the participants had not received adequate nutrition counseling as part of their cancer care.

Proving causation in product liability cases

When North Carolinians develop a disease, such as mesothelioma from asbestos exposure, they may bring a product liability case. Product liability cases may be based on strict liability, negligence or breach of warranty. Strict liability requires the claimant to show that the product had an unreasonably dangerous defect in its design or manufacturing process that the claimant used the product in the way it was intended to be used, and no changes were made to the product from its original state when sold.

Negligence or breach of warranty theories require claimants to show that the defendant owed them a legal duty of care. They breached that duty of care, and their injuries were caused by the product, which resulted in damages.

Firefighters face high risk of asbestos exposure

North Carolina firefighters face hazards, including smoke, fire and explosions. They may also be exposed to asbestos, which causes fatal diseases, such as mesothelioma and asbestosis. Asbestos fibers are most dangerous when disturbed and released into the air that often occurs when buildings are burning and firefighters are inside attempting to put out the fire. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, firefighters have double the rate of malignant mesothelioma, a fatal asbestos-related disease, than the general population.

An important piece of safety equipment, a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), helps prevent firefighters from inhaling airborne asbestos fibers. The National Institute certifies SCBAs for Safety and Health (NIOSH) after undergoing rigorous tests to ensure that they provide adequate protection from harmful chemicals and pathogens. Even though firefighters typically wear SCBAs, which help limit their exposure to asbestos by inhalation, asbestos fibers may also attach to their clothing, skin or hair. These fibers can transfer from one surface to another, leading to secondhand asbestos exposure.

Johnson & Johnson accused of asbestos cover-up

A previous North Carolina blog post discussed a product liability case in which a woman won $417 million against Johnson & Johnson (J&J). The jury found that J&J failed to adequately warn consumers about the cancer risks of asbestos-containing talcum powder. The company now faces another lawsuit, filed on behalf of more than 50 women who also developed ovarian cancer due to J&J talcum powder.

Plaintiffs allege J&J knew that its talc products contained asbestos fibers for decades and failed to warn consumers. According to an undated memo, J&J trained employees to inform anyone expressing concern over the product that asbestos has never been, and never would be, found. Tests on the talcum powder completed by J&J, dating back to as early as 1972, report no traces of asbestos.

Mesothelioma Awareness Day

Mesothelioma Awareness Day, established by Meso Foundation community members, will take place on September 26 for the 13th year in a row. The campaign is designed to bring awareness and funding to mesothelioma, a disease that claims the lives of thousands each year. The disease has a mortality rate of nearly 64 percent within one year.

Congress passed the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act to reduce the use of asbestos and currently, asbestos has been limited to less than one percent of all products. However, those exposed to asbestos in the past are still at risk because mesothelioma symptoms may not surface for many years. It is estimated that 20 million people will develop mesothelioma in their lifetimes.

525 North Main Street
Salisbury, NC 28144

Toll Free: 888-698-9975
Phone: 704-754-8242
Map & Directions