Judge’s Decision Gives Mesothelioma Victim’s Family a Second Chance

The path to justice often represents an emotional rollercoaster ride for those affected by malignant mesothelioma.  Jury awards get appealed by asbestos companies, and important decisions can be reversed by appellate courts. The family of a woman who blamed Johnson & Johnson for her death was first handed a loss by a Kentucky jury, but a court has ordered a new trial after concluding that certain prejudicial testimony should not have been allowed.

expert witness

Woman’s Mesothelioma Blamed on Asbestos in Talc Products

When Ms. Hayes died of malignant mesothelioma, her family sued Johnson & Johnson and Colgate-Palmolive, accusing the companies of failing to warn about the dangers that their products posed. When the jury decided against the family, it was due in part to witness testimony provided on behalf of the companies by a Johnson & Johnson corporate representative. 

The mesothelioma victim’s family had objected to having John Hopkins, Ph.D. testify, saying that when he spoke of his decision to allow his family’s use of Johnson & Johnson’s products, the jury had interpreted that as a reflection of his expertise as a noted toxicologist. They argued that he was speaking of personal use rather than as an expert witness, but the jury had assumed otherwise and that his assertions had swayed their decision.

Court of Appeals Agrees with Mesothelioma Victim’s Family

Upon review of the decisions made over the course of the trial, the Court of Appeals of Kentucky agreed that the jury’s decision was unduly prejudicial and therefore unfair to the mesothelioma victim’s family. They wrote that Dr. Hopkins’ testimony should not have been allowed, and that “despite his non-expert disclaimer and regardless of any words that Cynthia’s experts offered to the effect that J&J’s products were unsafe, the jury was made aware that Dr. Hopkins is a preeminent toxicologist who evaluated safety issues concerning J&J’s talc products. The jury heard about Dr. Hopkins’ actions, i.e., that he was so certain of the safety of J&J’s talc products that he essentially staked the health of his family on it for decades.”

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Paul Danziger

Paul Danziger

Reviewer and Editor

Paul Danziger grew up in Houston, Texas and earned a law degree from Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago. For over 25 years years he has focused on representing mesothelioma cancer victims and others hurt by asbestos exposure. Paul and his law firm have represented thousands of people diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer, recovering significant compensation for injured clients. Every client is extremely important to Paul and he will take every call from clients who want to speak with him. Paul and his law firm handle mesothelioma cases throughout the United States.

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