A Common Pleas Court in Pennsylvania has rejected a defense motion to transfer an asbestos talcum powder lawsuit to a new venue.
According to a complaint pending in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court, the family of Mary Herron claims that her death from mesothelioma was connected to her frequent use of cosmetic talc products for more than 30 years. Plaintiffs further allege that the products, which were manufactured by Colgate Palmolive and sold at local Rite Aid Pharmacies, were tainted with asbestos.
Per a report from HarrisMartin.com, Colgate Palmolive and other defendants had cited the discovery of Herron’s employment records in Cumberland County as justification for a change of venue.
In opposing the transfer, plaintiffs asserted that the defendants were presenting conjecture concerning possible evidence of other asbestos exposure and characterized the recitation of potential documents that may be found in a neighboring county as “far from sufficient to show oppression or vexation.”
“The only ‘record’ evidence they provide is a condolence posted to Plaintiff’s Decedent Mary Herron’s online obituary stating that a person worked with Mary Herron at a ‘Navy Base,’” the plaintiffs argued. “From this sentence alone, Defendants broadly infer that Mrs. Herron was an employee at Naval Support Activity, Mechanicsburg, Pa., and that there is relevant and discoverable evidence that ‘would be used to establish a potential source of asbestos exposure.’”
The Court apparently agreed, issuing a single-page order denying the defendants’ motion on November 22nd.
Colgate Palmolive is facing around 170 similar talcum powder lawsuits in courts around the country. In 2015, the company was ordered to pay $13 million in a California mesothelioma case involving its Cashmere Bouquet talc-based powder.
Just last month, Colgate Palmolive reached an undisclosed settlement in another Cashmere Bouquet lawsuit that had been pending in New Jersey Superior Court.
Johnson & Johnson has been named a defendant in more than 5,500 lawsuits involving the alleged link between its talcum powder products and ovarian cancer.
Women pursuing these lawsuits claim that Johnson & Johnson has long been aware of studies suggesting that long-term, frequent genital talc use increases the likelihood that a woman will develop the often-deadly diseases. Plaintiffs further allege that company officials decided against warning the public in order to protect sales of its popular Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower brands.
Since early 2015, several plaintiffs pursuing talcum powder lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson have been awarded multi-million-dollar judgments, ranging from $55 million to $417 million in cases involving Johnson & Johnson. Recently, however, the $417 million verdict returned in a California case was dismissed because of accusations involving juror misconduct and other issues. A $72 million verdict awarded to an out-of-state plaintiff in Missouri’s talcum powder litigation was also overturned due to jurisdictional issues.
Last month, a California jury found in Johnson & Johnson favor in a mesothelioma lawsuit involving the company’s talcum powder products.