There’s been a flurry of legal activity pitting people diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma against companies like Johnson & Johnson, the manufacturers and distributors of asbestos-contaminated talc products. One question that’s repeatedly been asked has been whether retailers who sold the contaminated products accused of causing harm can be held responsible for the damage suffered by those who used the product. According to a recent decision by the Supreme Court of New York County, indemnification is not automatically assumed. Retailers are not automatically eligible to have claims against them dismissed based on gaps in proof provided by the victim.
Retailer That Sold Asbestos-Contaminated Product Included in Mesothelioma Lawsuit
The case that raised the question of retail indemnification was filed by the family of Elizabeth Milan. Ms. Milan used a Johnson & Johnson talcum powder product that her survivors claimed was contaminated by asbestos. They blamed it for her death from malignant mesothelioma and filed suit against all the companies involved in the manufacturing and delivery of the product, seeking compensation for her expenses and her suffering. In their lawsuit the family named Bristol-Meyers Squibb, Cyprus Amax Minerals Company, Whittaker Clark & Daniels, Johnson & Johnson, and Lot Less, a retailer that sold the consumer product, as defendants.
Lot Less filed a motion for summary judgment, asking the court to dismiss the claims against them based on the mesothelioma victim’s family not yet having proven that the product they sold had contained asbestos, or that it was actually contaminated by asbestos.
Court Rules Against Retailer ‘Lot Less’, Arguing They Can Be Held Responsible for Victim’s Mesothelioma
Though the retailer ‘Lot Less’ argued that they could not be held liable for Ms. Milan’s injuries because it is “well settled that a seller or distributor of a defective product has an implied right of indemnification,” the court found that this assertion was premature because the underlying liability has yet to be determined. As such, the company is not able to evade an analysis of whether they played a role in Ms. Milan’s mesothelioma, and has the potential to be held responsible for the damages that she suffered.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma and you need guidance, the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net can help. For more information, contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.