CVN screenshot of plaintiff attorney Joseph Satterley delivering his opening statement
Oakland, CA - Johnson & Johnson resumed defending its cosmetic talc products from allegations they contain asbestos in a California state courtroom on Thursday in the wake of the company’s recent attempts to scuttle thousands of similar cases with controversial bankruptcy filings.
The Alameda County jury heard claims that plaintiffs Marlin Eagles developed mesothelioma, a form of cancer often associated with asbestos exposure, from to inhaling asbestos supposedly present in talc-based cosmetic products like Johnson’s Baby Powder. His wife, Georgia, is also a party to the case.
J&J vehemently denies their cosmetic talc products posed a cancer risk to the public. While the company has since discontinued its talc-based baby powder in favor of a cornstarch-based product, they have argued in numerous trials that the claimed links between talc exposure and mesothelioma relied on by plaintiffs are based in faulty science.
In addition to J&J, the trial also includes additional retailer defendants such as Safeway and CVS.
The full trial, expected to run into early next year, is being webcast and recorded gavel-to-gavel by Courtroom View Network. CVN has similarly recorded the majority of cosmetic talc trials in state court to date since they began going before juries in 2016, and they are all available with a subscription to CVN’s online video library, which includes hundreds of trials from throughout the United States.
Joseph Satterley of Kazan McClain Satterley & Greenwood, who represents the Eagles and has served as lead plaintiff counsel in the majority of cosmetic talc trials to date in Oakland, told jurors during his opening statement how Marlin, 81, worked for years as a tennis coach and used J&J’s products throughout his lifetime.
He made a preemptive attack on what would be a key theme in the defense opening, arguing that Eagles’ lifetime of cosmetic talc use was a far more likely source of asbestos exposure than shipyards and factories where his father worked for a number of years.
Satterley told jurors he would show them internal J&J documents that supposedly prove the company knew its cosmetic talc products contained asbestos - a claim J&J denies - but withheld that information from the public to protect sales of a trusted brand that many people have used since their infancy.
Representing J&J, attorney Kim Bueno told jurors that despite Satterley’s claims Eagle’s father working in facilities that contained asbestos could easily have served as a source of exposure. She detailed that one of the facilities was directly across from a W.R. Grace asbestos plant. She told jurors her evidence would show J&J’s products had “nothing to do” with Eagles’ cancer.
CVN screenshot of J&J attorney Kim Bueno delivering her opening statement
The trial comes months after the first post-bankruptcy J&J talc trial, where Satterley secured an $18.8 million verdict from another Alameda County jury in a trial that was also recorded gavel-to-gavel by CVN.
The current case, taking place before Judge Jo-Lynne Q. Lee, is captioned Eagles v. Johnson & Johnson , et al., case number 22CV018294 in Alameda County Superior Court, California.
E-mail David Siegel at firstname.lastname@example.org