When it comes to the talcum powder cases being litigated against companies like Johnson & Johnson, attorneys for the plaintiffs need to prove to a jury that lifetime use of baby powder and other talc products caused them to develop cancer. To this end, many lawyers are turning to experts for their testimony. When their testimony is allowed by judges, juries often hand down verdicts in the millions to the plaintiffs. Some judges, however, are not allowing their testimony. When a judge does allow their testimony, attorneys are paying these experts millions, as Forbes reports.
These experts include a New York scientist who entered witness protection after allegedly getting involved in money laundering for the mob. Without their testimony, lawyers and plaintiffs are finding that securing verdicts in their favor is difficult.
Earlier this month, Judge Kenneth Powell of the Philadephia Court of Common Pleas dismissed a case after he excluded similar witness testimony. The case involved Colgate, and the victim alleged that the company’s Cashmere Bouquet talcum powder contained trace asbestos fibers which could be inhaled, leading to cancer.
A California trial, however, shows the difference when a judge allows the testimony of these experts. The evidence that the judge allowed in the trial includes tests on decades-old bottles of talc purchased on eBay. These experts, who are testifying on behalf of Terry Leavitt, said that Johnson & Johnson baby powder contains asbestos.
Judges, however, are remaining inconsistent on whether or not they allow the testimony of these expert witnesses. However, when testimony is allowed, juries have handed down some spectacular verdicts, including one verdict of $4.7 billion to 22 women in New Jersey, which is Johnson & Johnson’s home state.
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