In July of 2021, Ann Greenberg filed a mesothelioma lawsuit against Kolmar Laboratories, Inc., a company used by Johnson & Johnson to manufacture its talc powder products. A day later she added Johnson & Johnson to her complaint, accusing both of negligence in exposing her to asbestos. Though Johnson & Johnson accused her of false joinder — only filing against Kolmar to justify her claim being heard in state court — the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York denied the company’s argument and allowed the suit to be remanded to New York.
Woman Blames Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder for Mesothelioma
In her initial claim and interrogatory response, Mrs. Greenberg blamed her mesothelioma on her regular and frequent exposure to asbestos fibers from Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder from 1944 to 1974. Johnson & Johnson’s based their argument that Kolmar, a New York-based company, was fraudulent joined on their assertion that Kolmar had not begun manufacturing their product until 1980. The company also argued that the mesothelioma victim could not establish that she’d ever used products created specifically by Kolmar and that Kolmar was a “mere contractor” and immune from liability under New York state law.
Judge Hearing Mesothelioma Case Denies Fraudulent Joinder Claim
In his review of the opposing arguments in the mesothelioma claim, U.S. District Judge John P. Cronan denied Johnson & Johnson’s assertion of fraudulent joinder, addressing each of the company’s three arguments separately. Regarding the date discrepancy between Mrs. Greenberg’s dates of use and Kolmar’s manufacturing date, he noted that she later extended her period of use and that there are questions of fact about whether Kolmar manufactured the product earlier than 1980.
The judge also denied the company’s argument about the lack of proof that the mesothelioma victim had ever used their product that had specifically come from Kolmar, reminding the company that it was their duty to prove that there was “no possibility” of her having used Kolmar-manufactured product. Finally, they denied the company’s argument about Kolmar’s limited liability, saying that if the victim was correct and the company was a member of the Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association, then they would have known of the risk of asbestos-tainted talc, thus making them liable.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net are here to help. Contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.FREE Mesothelioma Packet