The primary digital trial involving beauty talcum powder ended abruptly this week with a mistrial after the plaintiff, a 54-year-old man with mesothelioma, grew to become too in poor health to speak together with his attorneys.
Alameda County Superior Courtroom Choose Stephen Kaus advised jurors, through Zoom, that he must declare a mistrial provided that Rosalino “Louie” Reyes, the plaintiff, had taken a “flip for the more severe.”
“It seems his passing away is imminent,” he advised jurors Monday, in accordance with a broadcast of the trial by Courtroom View Community. “I don’t imagine we are able to simply proceed the trial. A case after somebody has handed away is totally different from a case the place the plaintiff is alive.”
He additionally stated that declaring a mistrial would permit different plaintiffs with declining well being to maneuver ahead with their trials. Johnson & Johnson is a key defendant in lawsuits alleging its child powder contained asbestos-containing talc that triggered mesothelioma.
Joseph Satterley, the lawyer for Reyes and his spouse, Gemma Reyes, stated he had different trials deliberate for January and April towards Johnson & Johnson.
Reyes, identified with mesothelioma final 12 months, typically used Johnson & Johnson’s child powder as a deodorant, making use of it hundreds of instances over his lifetime, in accordance with Satterley, of Oakland’s Kazan, McClain, Satterley & Greenwood, in his Oct. 27 opening assertion.
“This case is about belief, and about damaged belief,” stated Satterley. “Louie and his spouse will inform you they trusted Johnson & Johnson’s product. They trusted the child powder. They preferred the way in which it smelled. They preferred the way in which it felt on their physique. And that belief was damaged.”
Johnson & Johnson was the first defendant, however others at trial included Longs Medication, the place Reyes and his spouse bought Johnson & Johnson’s child powder, and O’Reilly Auto Components, the place he purchased brakes to restore vehicles as a passion.
“It is a very severe case for the Reyes household,” stated Johnson & Johnson lawyer Morty Dubin, a New York companion at King & Spalding, in his opening assertion Oct. 29. “It’s additionally a really severe case for Johnson & Johnson. It stands right here falsely accused of inflicting somebody’s most cancers.”
Dubin represented Johnson & Johnson alongside Allison Brown, of New York’s Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. Edward Hugo, of Hugo Parker in San Francisco, represented O’Reilly and one other auto elements retailer, Kragen. A staff from Barnes & Thornburg – Sandra Ko and Kevin Rising in Los Angeles and Meredith White in Indianapolis — represented Longs and two different retailers, Fortunate and Safeway.
Reyes died Tuesday, in accordance with an lawyer within the case.
The trials towards Johnson & Johnson are separate from different mesothelioma circumstances towards producers reminiscent of Honeywell Worldwide and Metalclad Insulation. These firms have additionally gone to trial just about in Alameda County Superior Courtroom. In September, the primary one resulted in a defense verdict for Honeywell Worldwide, whereas a jury in a second trial awarded $2.5 million in a case towards Metalclad Insulation.
Johnson & Johnson faces greater than 21,000 lawsuits over its child powder, most of which allege the product causes ovarian most cancers in ladies. Juries in Missouri and California have awarded protection verdicts and awards towards Johnson & Johnson, together with a document $4.7 billion award, later lowered to $2.1 billion. After shedding appeals of that verdict in Missouri, Johnson & Johnson plans to petition the U.S. Supreme Courtroom.
Final month, Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay $100 million to resolve 1,000 lawsuits. In Could, the New Jersey-based firm pulled 33,000 bottles of its talc-based child powder from retailer cabinets, citing the COVID-19 pandemic and a “fixed barrage of litigation promoting.” The choice got here after a federal decide in New Jersey, overseeing ovarian most cancers lawsuits coordinated in multidistrict litigation, ruled on April 27 to permit plaintiffs’ specialists into future trials.