NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J., Nov. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Industrial talc, an open-pit-
mined mineral used in ceramic, paint, and paper manufacturing contains lethal,
cancer-causing asbestos fibers responsible for a pottery artisan's fatal
mesothelioma, a jury ruled today in the first-ever U.S. verdict connecting
industrial talc with asbestos-related cancer, the national toxic tort law firm
Levy Phillips & Konigsberg, LLP announced.
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, New Jersey before
contracting the agonizingly painful, always fatal disease.
After a four-week trial the four-woman, two-man jury rejected claims by
R.T. Vanderbilt, Incorporated ("Vanderbilt") that talc from its New York State
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
In the next phase of the trial, punitive damages will be sought against
the defendants. It is scheduled to begin November 28 before the Hon. Ann G.
McCormick, according to Attorney Moshe Maimon, Esq., of Levy Phillips &
Konigsberg, LLP who represents the estate of pottery artisan Peter Stanley
An active outdoorsman who enjoyed rock climbing, mountain climbing,
hiking, sailing and skiing before contracting mesothelioma, Hirsch attended
Princeton High School before graduating from Harvard University in 1972 with a
degree in Engineering and Applied Physics. Hirsch built the first pottery
kiln at Harvard in 1970, as part of an extra-curricular program.
After three years of marketing for a high-tech Princeton-based company,
Hirsch started "Rock Brook Pottery," first in Lawrenceville, then in Skillman
and finally at the Lace Works on N.J. Route 29 in Lambertville. After Hirsch
closed the Lambertville studio in 1982 he worked in marketing/sales for three
other Princeton-area high-tech firms, then as a self-employed organizational
and marketing consultant until he was no longer able work, according to court
documents and testimony.
Hirsch's exposure to asbestos-contaminated industrial talc occurred during
the seven years he operated pottery studios, personally mixing glazes
containing Vanderbilt's NYTAL(R) 100 industrial talc purchased from Hammill &
Gillespie, Inc., Livingston, New Jersey, among other sources. Hirsch
purchased NYTAL(R) 100 talc in 50-to-100-pound bags during this period. Each
time he opened a bag of Vanderbilt talc, scooped or poured out contents it
generated very fine dust that was suspended in the air until it landed on the
floor or Hirsch's clothes, Maimon said.
"This first-ever U.S. verdict finally -- and decisively -- proves that
industrial talc from Vanderbilt's New York State mines contains lethal
asbestos fibers. New Jersey jurors have sent out a powerful, clear message to
Vanderbilt and other companies that mine, mill or market industrial talc. Not
only must their own workers be protected from lung disease, end users and
others who come into contact with the product must be warned properly of the
carcinogenic fibers lurking in this dusty powder used in so many manufacturing
applications," Maimon said.
"Vanderbilt should immediately edit its Web site and printed materials to
eliminate its claim that New York State industrial talc is safe and has no
carcinogenic effects," Maimon added.
In addition to Maimon, Carmen Victoria St. George, Esq., of Levy Phillips
& Konigsberg, LLP, and Arnold Lakind, Esq., of Szaferman, Lakind, Blumstein,
Blader & Lehmann, P.C., Lawrenceville, New Jersey, represent the plaintiff.
SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY - LAW DIVISION: MIDDLESEX COUNTY
DOCKET NO : MID-L-2706-03AS; BONNIE L. PARKER, individually and as
Executrix and the Executrix ad Prosequendum of the ESTATE OF PETER STANLEY
HIRSCH VS R.T. VANDERBILT COMPANY, INC, ET AL.
SOURCE Levy Phillips & Konigsberg, LLP
CONTACT: Attorney Contacts: Moshe Maimon, Esq., +1-212-605-6260, or Carmen Victoria St. George, Esq., +1-212-605-6204, both of Levy Phillips & Konigsberg, LLP