Confidential Settlement Reached with Talc Company in Retired Teacher’s Mesothelioma Lawsuit

Four days after a California jury began hearing how a retired schoolteacher’s malignant mesothelioma had been caused by asbestos hidden in body powders she’d used for decades, the talc company responsible for the asbestos offered her a settlement and the case came to a close. Though the amount agreed to remains confidential, the agreement came days after a jury ordered the same defendant to pay $4.8 million to another California asbestos victim. 

Asbestos Sold to Johnson & Johnson, Chanel, and Jean Naté

In testimony provided prior to trial, Linda Zimmerman explained that she’d been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma in 2018, and that right up until her diagnosis she was still using Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder as she had since 1954. She also told of using Jean Naté powder from 1956 to 1992, Chanel No. 5 powder from 1964 to 2009, and Avon Unforgettable powder from 1964 to the 1980s. All of those brands had purchased talc from Whittaker Clark & Daniels, Inc., the supplier accused of selling asbestos-contaminated material.

In response to Zimmerman’s claims, Whittaker’s attorneys argued that her exposure had come from the clothing worn by her stepfather – who had worked at an asbestos products factory – and her sons, who had both worked as brake mechanics. These claims were denied by Zimmerman’s attorney, who explained that the victim’s stepfather had entered their home through the basement each evening, showering and changing clothes before reuniting with the family.

Evidence Details How Asbestos Contaminates Talc

Prior to the settlement being reached, the jury was told how varieties of asbestos lie in close proximity to talc and is unintentionally mined along with the talc that is purposely being removed from the ground. Though harmless in nature, those asbestos varieties change shapes in the blending process to the types of fibers that cause the rare asbestos-related cancer.

Zimmerman’s attorney also explained that after a 1971 news report about asbestos being present in cosmetic talc, a consultant suggested that the company shield itself against future mesothelioma liability and the risk of asbestos being detected in its product by changing the ratio of asbestos-contaminated talc in their product to levels that would not be picked up by monitoring equipment. The jury also heard the details of Mrs. Zimmerman’s treatment and suffering since her diagnosis.  A settlement offer that was acceptable to the victim was made shortly after this testimony was heard by the jury.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, the Patient Advocates at can connect you with the resources you need to move forward with confidence and get the justice you need and deserve. 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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