California court watchers are getting a robust education about mesothelioma, and how big companies work to hide their role in the illness, as they watch the case of 61-year-old Patricia Schmitz unfold in an Alameda County Superior Court room. Mrs. Schmitz is a mother of two and grandmother who is not expected to survive the summer after being diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma. She has filed suit against both Johnson & Johnson and Colgate-Palmolive, accusing both companies of having hidden the fact that their talc products were contaminated with asbestos. Yesterday attorneys for the consumer giants presented an expert witness, Dr. Suresh Moolgavkar of the scientific consulting firm Exponent Inc. to testify that Mrs. Schmitz’ illness had not been caused by asbestos, a position that was questioned by Mrs. Schmitz’ attorney.
Expert witness for J & J admits to receiving huge payment for testimony
In cross examining the witness, Mrs. Schmitz’ representatives asked Dr. Moolgavkar about his history of testifying against mesothelioma victims as well as on behalf of big companies. They suggested that his goal was to “manufacture doubt” for a large fee, pointing out that the epidemiologist makes half a million dollars each time he testifies, with an additional $400,000 bonus when the defendant that he is representing is successful in fending off litigation by people who claim to have been damaged by their products.
Epidemiologist denies asbestos science, blames mesothelioma on aging
In Mrs. Schmitz’ case, Dr. Moolgavkar has indicated that her mesothelioma did not come from her forty years of using asbestos-contaminated products, or even to any exposure to asbestos at all, but instead was a “spontaneous” event that was partially due to the aging process. He admitted to having provided similar testimony in cases involving diesel exhaust and formaldehyde that had been named as the cause of other peoples’ deaths, saying in each that there was no epidemiological causation. He also acknowledged that he had never treated a patient diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma.
As Mrs. Schmitz’ mesothelioma lawsuit continues and is being broadcast live on court television stations, more and more people are coming to realize the dangers posed by asbestos hidden in everyday products like talc-based baby powder. If you need information on asbestos-related illnesses, the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net can help. Call us today at 1-800-692-8608.