Two well-known companies, Volkswagen and Avon, were hit with asbestos cancer verdicts in December.
Volkswagen, the top automobile manufacturer, was ordered to pay $5.75 million for a mesothelioma wrongful death lawsuit. Avon, which makes health and beauty products, was hit with a $50-plus million verdict regarding asbestos in talc cosmetics.
Both lawsuits and verdicts are linked to asbestos exposure for innocent Americans, who deserve better than to be the subject of corporate greed and maliciousness.
Massive Talc Lawsuit Against Avon
A woman sued Avon for alleged asbestos fibers in the company’s cosmetics. The woman developed an asbestos-linked cancer called mesothelioma.
Avon was ordered by a Los Angeles jury to pay $10.3 million in punitive damages to the victim. Avon also had to pay more than $40 in compensatory damages, adding up to an asbestos verdict of $52 million. The jury believes the company hid the risks of using its talc-based products, which were contaminated with dangerous asbestos.
Talc Products and Asbestos
Talc is a mainstay ingredient in many cosmetics, including health and beauty products like baby powder and blush. Talc is a naturally occurring mineral found in the earth’s soil.
Another naturally occurring mineral is asbestos. The two are neighborly in the ground, meaning they can mix together during mining. If someone is mining for talc, it’s easy for them to accidentally grab asbestos.
Talc is ground into a powder – called talcum powder. During the grinding process, asbestos can contaminate the talcum powder without anyone knowing. Intentional testing of products can reveal asbestos’ presence, but many companies either don’t test their products for asbestos or won’t report finding asbestos in them.
Avon is being criticized in this mesothelioma lawsuit for doing one of the two. Avon makes face and body powders. However, the company faced hundreds of talc lawsuits in 2021.
When people use talc products, they can inhale or swallow asbestos fibers. The inhalation or swallowing of asbestos can cause mesothelioma.
Volkswagen Sued for Death of Auto Mechanic’s Death
A jury in Spokane, Wash., found Volkswagen AG of Germany and the American subsidiary of Volkswagen liable for exposing an auto mechanic to asbestos. The jury hit the automobile manufacturer with a $5.75 million verdict. The majority of it went to the estate of the victim, who passed away from mesothelioma, while close to $1 million went to the victim’s son.
The victim worked as an auto mechanic from 1972-1975 at Volkswagen’s Spokane dealership. He replaced brakes and clutches on Volkswagen vehicles.
Asbestos in Brakes and Clutches
Asbestos is a durable and heat-resistant mineral. Automobile manufacturers added asbestos to brake linings and clutches to protect from fire damage since those parts are near the engine and other high-temperature parts of cars.
Repairing and replacing brakes and clutches can lead to asbestos exposure for mechanics. The victim was diagnosed with mesothelioma in November of 2022. He passed away a few months later, according to news reports just days after giving his deposition in his case.
Reports say the victim used an Ammco grinding machine to arc the brakes during the replacement process. The grinding process causes asbestos dust from the wheel well and brakes to fly into the air. He also used an air compressor to blow dust, which contained loose fibers, off car brake drums. The contaminated air, filled with fibers, is where the victim and many mechanics worked daily.
Volkswagen said it did not place warnings regarding asbestos on its replacement brakes, brake boxes or any print materials for workers during the time when the victim worked at the dealership. The jury found Volkswagen responsible for compensation due to the company’s failure to warn him and other mechanics.
Sources & Author
- Volkswagen AG, Group of America found responsible for mesothelioma death of Spokane man. KREM. Retrieved from: https://www.krem.com/article/news/local/washington/volkswagen-mesothelioma-death-spokane-man/293-fd72939c-9b2f-4f83-9462-ee0390ee9dc9. Accessed: 12/22/2022.
Sources & Author