Alan Dunst Receives Defense Verdict in Middlesex County Product Liability Case

On November 2, Alan I. Dunst, Senior Partner in the firm, received a favorable verdict from a Middlesex County Superior Court jury in a products liability trial in front of the Hon. Ana Viscomi.  In this case, Plaintiff claimed exposure to our client’s (Whittaker, Clark and Daniels, Inc.) raw talc that was sold to co-defendant, Shulton, Inc., and incorporated in their cosmetic talcum powder products. Plaintiff claims that the talc was contaminated with asbestos and caused her mesothelioma. The plaintiff died during the course of the trial. It was our client’s position that their talc did not contain asbestos and that they acted as a reasonable distributor of talc during the period of exposure which was from 1955-1980 and as such it was not known or knowable that talc could be contaminated with asbestos. The plaintiffs claim was based upon a failure to warn and design defect, both of which the jury rejected.

This case, unlike other asbestos cases, was tried under the New Jersey Products Liability Act which allows the defendants to use “state of the art” as a defense because the talcum powder which plaintiff alleges exposure from was a consumer product. A "no cause" verdict was entered in favor of our client Whittaker, Clark and Daniels and co-defendant Shulton, Inc. The jury found not only that the talc or talcum powder did not require a warning but also that the alleged danger of talc contamination with asbestos was not known or knowable at the time of sale and accordingly the product was fit, suitable and safe.  Two other defendants settled prior to the jury verdict.

Congratulations to Alan on this important win.