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Middlesex County Superior Court

In this matter, a man sued after contracting mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure in the talc on his father’s clothes. The case was resolved via jury verdict after the defendant denied liability.

In ________, the plaintiff Steven K. was diagnosed with malignant peritoneal mesothelioma, a rare and fatal cancer of the abdomen linked with asbestos exposure. He underwent a radical surgery by Dr. Paul Sugarbaker out of Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C., in order to increase his chances of extending his life past two years. Mr. K., a self-employed fiberglass insulator is supported by his wife Linda and their four children.

When he was himself a child, Mr. K.’s father was employed at the Shulton Company plant in Mays Landing, New Jersey where the defendant Whittaker, Clark & Daniels, Inc. supplied talcum powders for the manufacture of cosmetic powders such as Old Spice, Desert Flower, and Friendship Garden. The plaintiff argued that the plaintiff’s father unknowingly brought home asbestos-contaminated talcum powder on his clothing and person every night he worked there, leading to the contamination which in time resulted in his son’s cancer. The plaintiffs Steven and Linda K. filed suit in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Middlesex County, accusing the defendant Charles B. Chrystal, Inc., Whittaker, Clark & Daniels and RT Vanderbilt of causing his asbestos exposure through their product, resulting in his mesothelioma. The defendants denied the accusation.

At trial, the plaintiff revealed that test results showed that the talc it sold to the Shulton Company for use in consumer cosmetic talcum products contained asbestos. It was also shown that testing out of NYU performed for the FDA in ________ and ________ on over ________ consumer cosmetic talc products like Old Spice, Desert Flower, and Cashmere Bouquet, some of which contained talc from Whittaker, Clark & Daniels, Inc., showed asbestos contamination. The lawsuit alleged that Whittaker, Clark & Daniels, Inc., a manufacturer and distributor of products in New Jersey, had a duty to warn users of its talc, like Steven Kaenzig, of the health hazards of asbestos contained within the product, yet Whittaker, Clark & Daniels, Inc. did not include any warnings on its talc products nor its talc advertisements. The defendant asserted that the plaintiff’s mesothelioma was not caused by their products, because the talc does not contain asbestos, and even if it did it would be minimal exposure and unable to cause such an injury.At the conclusion of a three week trial, the jury returned a finding for the plaintiff and awarded Mr. and Mrs. K. $1.6 million in damages.

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