James L. Ware and Jamie Guidry Win Summary Judgment in Talc Mesothelioma Case


Firm lawyers James L. Ware and Jamie Guidry won an important summary judgment in a talc asbestos case on the fundamental element of Plaintiff’s case-whether the talc actually used by the decedent exposed her to asbestos.  The deceased person made ceramics for her hobby and bought talc regularly from a retailer who bought from a wholesaler selling talc from West Texas.  Plaintiff claimed that the talc contained asbestos and exposures from regular use caused mesothelioma.  Plaintiff relied on historical geological studies of the region in West Texas in which some deposits of asbestos or unregulated minerals sometimes associated with asbestos were found.  The only samples of talc tested for asbestos and other constituents were those of the miner and none detected asbestos.  Plaintiff called upon Sean Fitzgerald to give an affidavit opinion that the decedent worked with Defendant’s talc, the talc came from a region in Texas in which asbestos or asbestiform minerals had been identified, that the Defendant’s talc was mined in the region, and that in his opinion the Defendant’s talc contained asbestos to which the decedent was exposed.  That expert did not test the Defendant’s talc which the decedent used in making ceramics.  The leading case addressing this issue is Slaughter v. Southern Talc 949 F2d 167 (5th Cir. 1991) which holds that it is a fundamental element of Plaintiff’s burden of proof to establish that the talc used by the exposed person was that of the Defendant and that it contained asbestos to which the Plaintiff was exposed.  Despite multiple research articles and an expert’s general opinion of the facts, the MDL court found that there was no evidence that the decedent was exposed to asbestos while using Defendant’s talc in making ceramics.