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What a recent mistrial means for mesothelioma cases

As we have learned more about the connection between asbestos and mesothelioma, the connection has become clearer. While not everyone who is exposed to asbestos gets a mesothelioma diagnosis, there is a connection between people who have more exposure developing this rare and aggressive cancer.

Although the intended uses for asbestos have decreased significantly and there is less accidental contamination, people are still exposed at home and work. Even in trace amounts, this exposure can lead to mesothelioma.

Recently in California, a Johnson & Johnson case ended in a mistrial when trying to tackle the connection between trace exposures and mesothelioma.

Here is the important information about that trial and what it means moving forward.

Johnson & Johnson’s mistrial

In this case, Carolyn Weirick states that she was exposed to asbestos when she used Johnson & Johnson talc products including the baby powder for several decades. Her complaint says that these talc products contained asbestos and led to her mesothelioma diagnosis.

She received a mesothelioma diagnosis last year after more than 40 years of exposure. Although testing revealed the presence of asbestos in J&J products in her home, the jury could not agree on whether the asbestos in these products was the cause of her mesothelioma. The jury’s indecision resulted in a mistrial.

How ordinary products get contaminated

In recent years, Johnson & Johnson has seen a lot of asbestos litigation. The pharmaceutical line carries multiple products that contain talc. Talc is not a toxic substance and is safe for human use. However, asbestos is a naturally occurring substance and is found in talc mines. During the talc mining process, asbestos can contaminate a safe material with a toxic one.

Since this is already a known part of the process for mining talc, companies that are not making significant efforts to keep asbestos out of their products can face negligence charges.

What a mistrial means for future trials

For people suffering from mesothelioma caused by exposure to asbestos, a mistrial does not mean the end of the battle for asbestos claims. Even though the jury could not conclude in this case, other cases will still be able to continue through the court system.

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