Denial of Talc Defendant’s Motion for JNOV Reversed on Appeal

NEW YORK – In unanimously reversing an order denying the defendant Whittaker Clark & Daniel’s, Inc.’s (WCD) motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict, today New York’s First Department determined that the plaintiff Claudine DiScala did not present sufficient evidence to establish a level of exposure that could have caused the decedent, Joan Robusto’s, mesothelioma. They determined that although there was not a requirement to quantify a mathematically precise exposure level, the plaintiff’s causation expert failed to express a legally sufficient opinion because he “merely opined that the decedent’s exposure to unspecified ‘detectable’ or ‘significant’ levels of asbestos in the talcum product she used, caused her mesothelioma.” The plaintiffs had alleged that in the 1960s and 1970s, Robusto was a daily user of Desert Flower Dusting Powder which contained WCD’s talcum powder. A jury awarded the plaintiff $7 million following a six-week trial against WCD in November 2015, marking the first verdict in the state in a case involving allegations of asbestos-contaminated talcum powder in personal hygiene products.