A New Jersey state court jury cleared Shulton, Inc. of all liability on November 2 in one of the first lawsuits of its kind to go to trial alleging that a consumer goods company failed to adequately disclose the alleged risks of asbestos-related disease from using cosmetic talc products. Whittaker, Clark & Daniels, Inc., who allegedly supplied the talc which Shulton used in its products, was also cleared of liability.
The 9-member jury returned a defense verdict following a multi-week trial that began on September 8. The jury found that Plaintiff Linda Fishbain failed to prove that either of the Defendants manufactured, sold or distributed a talc product that was not reasonably fit, suitable and safe for its intended or foreseeable use. The panel similarly rejected Fishbain’s claims that the defendants were responsible for her mesothelioma because she was not adequately warned of possible health risks allegedly from the use of cosmetic talc use.
Fishbain claimed that she used Shulton’s former line of cosmetic talc products on a daily basis during the 1960’s and 1970’s. Plaintiffs’ counsel argued that the talc allegedly supplied by Whittaker, Clark & Daniels, which was subsequently used in these products, was contaminated with asbestos fibers and caused Mrs. Fishbain to develop mesothelioma in 2013.
Shulton’s attorney, John D. Cosmich, argued that there was no evidence that the products used by Mrs. Fishbain were actually contaminated and therefore were not a substantial contributing cause of her mesothelioma.
In reaching its verdict, the jury found that at the time the Defendants’ products were sold, it was neither known nor knowable that the products could allegedly cause an asbestos-related disease.