As Malignant Mesothelioma Diagnoses Decline, Lawsuits Increase

As America has slowly worked to eliminate use of and exposure to asbestos, the number of people diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases is on the decline. While mesothelioma diagnoses have dropped approximately 16.2% over the last dozen years, the diminishing numbers of victims has done nothing to extinguish the outrage felt by those who have been affected by the disease. That outrage is reflected in an upswing in the number of people filing lawsuits seeking compensation for the losses and pain that they’ve suffered.

Report Shows 65.7% Increase in Mesothelioma Lawsuits

According to a study published by KCIC, a Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm that manages asbestos liabilities for its clients, there has been a 65.7% rise in the number of personal injury claims filed by those diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma. The targets of these lawsuits are the asbestos companies that knowingly and/or negligently exposed people to asbestos-contaminated products, and much of the increase is due to consumers taking action against Johnson & Johnson and other companies selling cosmetic talc products.

KCIC reviewed legal records to determine that there were 2,124 mesothelioma claims filed in 2017, while the data on mesothelioma incidence was extracted from the the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Result database, more popularly known as SEER. The SEER record shows that the number of people diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma dropped to fewer than 3,000 in 2017, the last year for which SEER has released records.

Mesothelioma Lawsuits Increasingly Filed by or On Behalf of Women

Malignant mesothelioma has traditionally been associated with workplace exposure to asbestos, with mostly male victims diagnosed several decades after exposure. But in recent years more female victims have filed lawsuits blaming asbestos for a variety of illnesses, including ovarian cancer. While women are vulnerable to a mesothelioma diagnosis after years of exposure to asbestos on loved ones’ work clothing that they laundered, they also used talc-based cosmetic powders like Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder which have been accused of cross contamination with asbestos. The number of malignant mesothelioma lawsuits filed by or on behalf of women increased by 114.5 percent over the period between 2007 and 2017.

The KCIC report indicates a current backlog of 9,000 talc and asbestos cases in America’s courts, with roughly 500 specifically referencing a mesothelioma diagnosis. According to the study, much of the increase in legal filings comes from increased awareness of the right to sue. “The increase in plaintiff firms marketing towards those with mesothelioma has created widespread awareness of asbestos litigation. At some point, the steady increase in propensity to sue will likely level off as plaintiff advertising saturates the population of those sadly suffering from asbestos-related disease.”

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma and you need information about your rights, the Patient Advocates at can help. Contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the head writer of our news blog. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes that knowledge is power and she is committed to sharing news about the impact of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and victims’ stories.

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