One of the most heart wrenching mesothelioma lawsuits filed against consumer giant Johnson & Johnson’s was filed by Jenny Shulman. Shulman was just forty years old when she was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma after a hysterectomy and oophorectomy for endometrial cancer. After having identified Johnson * Johnson Baby Powder and other talc products as her only known exposure to asbestos, she sued the company, seeking damages based on seven counts ranging from products liability and negligence to breach of warranty. The company denied liability and moved for summary judgment to have all of the charges against them dismissed, but Judge Manuel J. Mendez of the Supreme Court of New York County denied all but part of one of those motions, allowing the case to move forward.
In tracing the history of her exposure to asbestos and subsequent diagnosis of peritoneal mesothelioma, Ms. Shulman indicates that she was born in Russia but came to America in 1979 at the age of two, and by the next year her mother was applying Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder to her every day until she was about 8 years old. As she got older the young woman started applying the product herself until she was about thirteen and switched to another product, though if she ran out of that product she would switch back to the baby powder. She described the way that she used the product on her entire body, shaking the container until the room became dusty and she could smell the product and breathe it in. She reports having used talc products, including the baby powder, until 2011.
Rather than denying the claims about their product’s link to mesothelioma (which has been in the news based on charges that the company has long been aware of the presence of asbestos in their talc,) the company argued that there are gaps in the evidence presented in the initial filing. In his response, the judge concludes that the company’s argument is “unavailing,” pointing out that a defendant “cannot obtain summary judgment simply by pointing to gaps in plaintiffs proof.” Though he agreed about a minor point regarding breach of express warranty, the rest of the case will be able to proceed.
People with mesothelioma are watching the Johnson & Johnson cases throughout the United States very closely. If you have mesothelioma and you need any information on any medical or legal developments, we can help. Contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608.