As 2017 comes to an end, we look back at a few of the highlights and lessons we learned this year.
Historic Mesothelioma Jury Verdict (April 7, 2017): Levy Konigsberg (“LK”) achieved a historic victory, winning the first jury verdict in a peritoneal mesothelioma case involving cosmetic talc use. Our client, Florence Nemeth, lived in Long Island before she died from her asbestos-related cancer at the age of 69. The exposure to asbestos resulted from Mrs. Nemeth use of a talcum powder product called Desert Flower. The jury in New York City (Manhattan) returned a verdict of $16.5 million, finding that the trial defendant who supplied the talc (Whitaker Clark & Daniels) was 50% responsible. The jury found that the product manufacturer was also 50% at fault. The defendant has appealed this case and LK will keep fighting to collect money owed to our client. This case continues to teach us about the power of determination and resiliency, both on the part of our clients and the attorneys in our firm.
Important Legal Ruling for Auto Mechanics (August 4, 2017): LK won an important legal ruling in a federal court in New Jersey. The firm represents the family of Gerald Hoffeditz who died of mesothelioma. Mr. Hoffeditz was exposed to asbestos while working on brakes and other automotive parts on military trucks while serving in the Army. The Defendants tried to get the case dismissed by challenging the scientific basis linking exposure to asbestos from automotive parts to mesothelioma. Specifically, the Defendants challenged the expert opinions of Dr. Jacqueline Moline, a highly qualified and experienced occupational medicine physician. The federal court conducted a hearing and then issued a detailed opinion rejecting the Defendants’ arguments and permitting Dr. Moline to testify at trial. This case reminded us of the importance of patience which is sometimes needed in litigation. It has taken years for the Court to rule on a number of motions in this case, but the Court came to the right decision on this important issue that will help the Hoffeditz family and others affected from asbestos exposure and mesothelioma from auto mechanic work.
Jury Verdict Upheld (November 8, 2017): LK had one of its ground-breaking jury verdicts upheld by a trial court Judge in Upstate New York. The firm represents the family of Lewis Nash, a former school bus driver, who developed mesothelioma after being regularly exposed to asbestos as a bystander to the work of bus mechanics. The work that caused the asbestos exposure involved brakes and other asbestos-containing parts used on the buses. The jury awarded $7.7 million dollars. Although the trial court reduced the verdict significantly (finding that the amount was too high), the court’s decision rejected all of the defendants’ other arguments and still requires them to pay millions of dollars to our client. This case once again taught us the importance of standing up for our clients against attempts by defendants to avoid responsibility for paying our clients what they are owed. Sometimes it takes going to trial and defending the verdict after trial to get our clients what they deserve. The defendant, in this case, has filed a notice of appeal and our firm will continue to work until the money owed to our client is paid by the defendant.
Court Rules Against Johnson & Johnson (“J&J”) (December 22, 2017): LK is handling many cases involving people who developed mesothelioma from the use of asbestos-containing talc products (Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower) made by J&J. Just as 2017 was coming to a close, the Court in one of our firm’s cases ruled against J&J (and in favor of our client) on the issue of the authenticity of product samples tested by plaintiff’s expert, William Longo, Ph.D. Dr. Longo tested 30 vintage samples, mostly of J&Js baby powders obtained from various sources including law firm clients and eBay. J&J tried to have this testing excluded, arguing that there was not a proper “chain of custody” to prove that these products were actual products containing J&J’s talcum powder. The Court rejected J&J’s argument because Dr. Longo established a reliable basis, based on his testing and all of the surrounding facts, to show that the J&J products were authentic products. Dr. Longo found that most of the J&J products contained asbestos when analyzed with a transmission electron microscope. Based on the Court’s ruling, Dr. Longo will be able to testify about his testing to a jury in one of our firm’s cases which is scheduled for trial in January 2018. Our work on the J&J cases in 2017 has once again taught us about the power of hard work in uncovering facts that were hidden from the public. Through litigation, we have discovered that one of the most trusted products in America (J&J’s Baby Powder) was, in fact, contaminated with asbestos, which has led to large numbers of parents and children having unnecessary asbestos exposures. Much of the evidence of this is contained in thousands and thousands of J&J’s own internal documents that our firm obtained this year and has spent hundreds and hundreds of hours reviewing. We look forward to presenting this evidence in courtrooms in a trial against J&J starting in 2018
As always, we are grateful for our courageous clients and families affected by mesothelioma, a disease that was entirely preventable had companies done the right thing by warning and/or removing asbestos from their products.
We wish all of our clients and friends happy holidays and the best for 2018.
Please contact us on this website if we can help you.