Many workers in Massachusetts are only just now getting sick after exposure to asbestos in the past. Some unethical professionals have noted this and attempted to game the system for the benefit of themselves and their clients. Forbes points out that this is at the expense of people who truly are sick from asbestos, while protecting the companies who are actually responsible for this sickness.
Professionals pull this off by withholding valuable information about the many businesses a victim may have worked for. This could then allow the person to sue multiple businesses for the same illness and receive a large settlement from each. Unfortunately, many of the businesses hit with litigation are small warehouses that allegedly had very little to do with asbestos exposure compared to the larger ones.
By spreading the payment out between all culpable parties, victims may still receive large settlements, but without crippling a business that may need to provide another settlement for another ill person in the near future. Some professionals now propose a reform making it mandatory for plaintiffs to make full disclosures.
According to CNBC, the companies most often responsible for asbestos exposure are mining companies and some manufacturing companies, such as those that built ships. This is why one woman was surprised to receive a diagnosis for mesothelioma. Her search took her to Johnson & Johnson’s talc baby powder, but they lacked the proof they needed and dropped the case in 1999.
After about 11,700 victims came forward making claims against the company, it had no choice but to disclose company documents. These documents allegedly showed that from the 1970s into the early 2000s, Johnson & Johnson not only knew that their product sometimes tested positive for asbestos, but that they fretted over how to address it. Johnson & Johnson may have even withheld information from the FDA regarding asbestos levels.
The company continues to deny the allegations. They have made considerable effort to convince the public, the jury and the victims that their talc powders are 100% safe. However, many consumers still have their doubts.