Study may undermine asbestos-talc connection

A new study questioning the link between talc powder and asbestos may prove to be a weapon that defense attorneys seize upon in lawsuits over the possibility of baby powder causing cancer. The study compares the rates of mesothelioma between urban and rural women. According to Forbes:

The study in the journal Risk Analysis found rural mesothelioma rates actually exceeded urban rates in more than half of the years studied between 1973 and 2012, despite the fact ambient asbestos exposures in urban areas are an order of magnitude higher due to heavy use of asbestos in commercial construction until the 1970s.

You may recall that National Trial Lawyers President Mark Lanier won a $4.3 billion verdict in July against Johnson & Johnson based on the argument that talc powder contains trace amounts of asbestos. You can read more about how the study may be used in defense of future talc lawsuits at Forbes. 

How Mark Lanier used cheese to help win a $4.7B talcum powder verdict

Mark Lanier

Mark Lanier of Lanier Law Firm

National Trial Lawyers President Mark Lanier isn’t afraid to use a few props to make a point to a jury. Forbes has a profile of Lanier titled “A Bale of Hay and a Block of Cheese: How Mark Lanier Won $4.7 Billion Talcum Powder Verdict” The story begins with how Lanier pulled a knife out of his pocket during the trial and “held it over a large block of yellow cheese.”

“You’ve got Bailiff Jim over there just looking for an excuse to shoot, so I looked at the judge and said `Am I allowed to do this?’” Lanier recalled at a recent meeting for mass tort trial lawyers. “`For now,’ the judge said.”

Lanier was using the knife and cheese to illustrate to the jury how talc is mined. He went on to use a bale of hay, a bathroom scale and “drawings scribbled on overhead projector slides” to communicate with jurors. Read more about Lanier’s techniques and tactics at Forbes.