NEW YORK, NEW YORK, November 25, 2015 – Levy Konigsberg LLP won a landmark $7 Million verdict on behalf of the family of Joan Robusto, a 76 year old Long Island woman who died of mesothelioma as a result of her use of cosmetic talcum powder that was contaminated with asbestos in the 1960s and 1970s. This is the first verdict in NYS in a case involving asbestos contaminated cosmetic talcum powder, which was used as a personal hygiene product.  The trial was against Whitaker Clark and Daniels, Inc.  Whitaker Clark and Daniels was a multi-national talc, minerals and chemical distributor that supplied the talcum powder that went into consumer products such as Desert Flower dusting powder, Old Spice talcum powder and Friendship Garden talcum powder.  Plaintiff Joan Robusto, who passed away before the start of the trial, used Desert Flower talcum powder every day for decades and was exposed to dangerous levels of asbestos as a result.  The trial lasted 6 weeks in New York State Supreme Court, New York County, and the Jury unanimously decided against Whitaker Clark & Daniels and in favor of Levy Konigsberg’s client.  The Hon. Martin Shulman presided over the trial which began on October 14, 2015 and concluded on November 24, 2015.

“This is a huge win for consumers statewide. Just like thousands of other New Yorkers, Joan Robusto used talcum powder every day for decades and never knew that she was breathing in dangerous levels of asbestos every time that put it on her body.  The jury determined that Whitaker Clark and Daniels was negligent in failing to warn consumers like Joan Robusto that their talcum powder may be contaminated with asbestos. The evidence showed that Whittaker was aware that their talc contained asbestos and that the carcinogen wasn’t removed from the talcum powder during the manufacturing process, and yet the company never put any type of warning regarding asbestos on their product” said a firm spokesperson.

Whitaker Clark & Daniels was founded in New York City in 1890 and was one of the leading distributors of talc, pigments, minerals and chemicals in the country for over 100 years.  Whitaker sold hundreds of different grades of ground talcum powder, and got their talc from various mine sources, including Italy, North Carolina, and Alabama.  It was established that the talc from these three areas was contaminated with asbestos and went into the finished cosmetic talcum powder products that Ms. Robusto used.  The jury found that, at least during at least the 1960s and 1970s, Whitaker supplied asbestos contaminated talc to Shulton Inc., who then used it as the primary ingredient in various consumer talcum powders that it sold nationwide.  Levy Konigsberg was able to show that Whitaker’s talcs, and the finished products that contained it, were regularly and consistently contaminated with deadly levels of asbestos, which is a known carcinogen.

At trial, the defendant argued that its products were not the cause of Ms. Robusto’s illness, and that her asbestos-related cancer was caused by exposure to other asbestos-containing products.  The Jury unanimously found that Whitaker/Brenntag’s products were a substantial cause of Ms. Robusto’s disease.

Joan Robusto used Desert Flower Dusting Powder, which contained Whitaker Clark and Daniels’ talcum powder, every day in the 1960s and 1970s. As a result of this exposure, Ms. Robusto died of mesothelioma, which is a type of cancer of which the only known cause is exposure to asbestos.

Levy Konigsberg (LK) is a national leader in asbestos litigation and other toxic tort cases.  Over the last 25 years, LK attorneys have successfully represented thousands of people who have been diagnosed with asbestos related cancer, including mesothelioma. For more information please see www.levylaw.com.




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