A 73-year-old woman with mesothelioma recently was awarded $13 Million by a Los Angeles jury. The woman became ill with the deadly disease from using asbestos-containing Cashmere Bouquet talcum powder manufactured by Colgate-Palmolive Co.
The jury found that Colgate was 95 percent responsible for causing Judith Winkel’s mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. In addition to the $13 Million verdict, the jury also awarded $1.4 Million to her husband.
Jurors in this case found Colgate negligent for the design, manufacture, and sale of the talcum powder. They also found that Cashmere Bouquet presented substantial danger, about which Colgate failed to warn consumers.
The Food and Drug Administration conducted a study more than 5 years ago that found no evidence of asbestos in various brands of cosmetic talcum powder. However, since the 1970s, there have been many concerns and suspicions about asbestos in talcum powders. The recent case in Los Angeles will surely bring those concerns to the surface once again.
Mesothelioma is an aggressive and deadly type of cancer. It can take 20-50 years for a person to develop and show symptoms. About 3,200 patients are newly diagnosed each year in the U.S.
Asbestos Was Commonly Used in Consumer Products
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral used to make a vast array of materials. It has been widely used for centuries as an ingredient in thousands of products. When asbestos fibers are released into the air, they are easily and unknowingly inhaled into people’s lungs, where they may become trapped. Eventually, the fibers can cause scarring and inflammation that may develop into mesothelioma.
Since the 1930s, hundreds of companies manufactured thousands of asbestos-containing products. Many of these companies continued to distribute the products even after knowing they were dangerous. Some companies actually hid this critical information from the public. As a result, millions of Americans have been exposed to asbestos without even knowing.
Thankfully, lawyers for the victims and the courts stood up to these companies—and the courts ordered them to put money into trusts that would pay the victims and families who were impacted by the asbestos-containing products they manufactured before the courts would protect them from future lawsuits. More than 55 companies have established these court-ordered trusts. To date, approximately $30 Billion has been placed into these trusts, and that amount is expected to grow.