In the Courts: First Talc/Asbestos Verdict
Industrial talc, an open-pit-mined mineral used in ceramic, paint, and paper manufacturing contains asbestos fibers responsible for a pottery artisan's fatal mesothelioma, a jury ruled in the first U.S. verdict connecting industrial talc with asbestos-related cancer. More than $3 million in compensatory damages were awarded by a Middlesex County Superior Court jury to a New Jersey widow whose husband operated pottery studios in Skillman, Lawrenceville, and Lambertville, NJ, before contracting the fatal disease. The jury rejected claims by R.T. Vanderbilt Inc. that talc from its New York mines contained fibers that may have looked similar to but were not a lethal form of asbestos, a position that the company has maintained for decades. Hammill & Gillespie, Inc., which sold the industrial talc, was also found liable.