Americans are often fascinated with courtroom dramas. An intimate look at the legal system dealing with an important issue is reassuring for people who want to have faith in our democracy and our right to be heard. Although lawsuits often do provide reassurances and compensation to victims of grave injuries or illnesses, the truth is often messier than fiction.
The last year has seen a flurry of lawsuits against a major manufacturer and provider of talcum powder products to consumer markets. It began when a jury found the company liable for the health effects of talcum powder laced with asbestos, which has been shown connected to the risk of various types of cancers.
Many cases regarding asbestos have been settled by plaintiffs and defendants, but the company has been hit with several verdicts brought by juries. The latest verdict ordered $25 million in compensatory damages for a patient with mesothelioma, a type of cancer linked to asbestos. The jury also ordered $300 million in punitive damages.
This case is still one of the first, as the company faces more than 14,000 other similar lawsuits in at least 10 U.S. states. Although scientific evidence of causation is still disputed, the legal liability conferred by a jury verdict in a civil case may make it easier for future cases to succeed after precedents.
People who suspect mesothelioma or another serious health condition was caused by talcum powder may have a case against the distributor of the product. Legal representation can help break down the requirements of a lawsuit and begin the process.