Levy Konigsberg successfully opposed Johnson & Johnson’s motion to dismiss Plaintiff Karlene Holleman’s claim that the use of Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder caused her to develop mesothelioma. Levy Konigsberg, led by Jerome Block, Renner Walker, and Robert Ellis, achieved a significant victory for out-of-state plaintiffs who seek to bring their claims against Johnson & Johnson for selling and manufacturing their talc-based products.
In the Holleman case, the New York Supreme Court concluded that it may exercise personal jurisdiction over Johnson & Johnson, which is domiciled in New Jersey since the product’s connections to New York were sufficient to establish a clear nexus between the company’s New York conduct and the Plaintiff’s claims. Specifically, the Court found that Johnson & Johnson may have had involvement in asbestos-related activities in New York through its supplier, Kolmar. Levy Konigsberg submitted documents establishing that Kolmar supplied Johnson & Johnson with talc powder to produce its baby powder. The Plaintiff demonstrated that Kolmar engaged in manufacturing talcum powder in New York and made products for Johnson & Johnson and that Johnson & Johnson distributed products containing asbestos within the state, during the period of Ms. Holleman’s exposure to the company’s Baby Powder.
Second, Johnson & Johnson did not demonstrate that a New York court was an improper forum under the doctrine of forum non-coveniens. The Court determined that Johnson & Johnson would not incur hardship by defending its claim in New York. Because Johnson & Johnson is domiciled in a contiguous state and has substantial activities in New York, the New York courts were deemed a proper forum for Ms. Holleman’s claim.
In May 2019, Levy Konigsberg Partner Jerome Block was victorious in the first mesothelioma case against Johnson & Johnson in a New York City court. The New York jury awarded damages in the amount of $325 million to plaintiffs Donna Olson and her husband, Robert Olson, after Mrs. Olson was diagnosed with mesothelioma related to asbestos found in Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder. Levy Konigsberg’s victory in the Olson case was the first time that a New York City jury awarded damages in a case against Johnson & Johnson for asbestos exposure from its Baby Powder (this case is currently awaiting final review on appeal). In the Holleman case, the Court’s denial of Johnson & Johnson’s motion to dismiss the Complaint about lack of personal jurisdiction and forum non-coveniens further paves the way for claimants to bring lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson in other courts based on Johnson & Johnson’s business activities related to its asbestos-contaminated products.
Levy Konigsberg LLP is a nationally recognized law firm that has won hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts for users of Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based products who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and ovarian cancer. If you or a member of your family has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or ovarian cancer, please contact our lawyers for a free and confidential consultation by calling 1-800-988-8005 or submitting an email inquiry on this page.