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Kaenzig, America Talc, Asbestos & Mesothelioma

Kaenzig, America Talc, Asbestos & Mesothelioma: A case in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division ruled on an appeal related of several pretrial and trial evidentiary rulings, and the denial of its motions for judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV) and a new trial. 

The Kaenzig, America Talc, Asbestos & Mesothelioma case documents what many second hand asbestos exposure victims (e.g., railroad workers, plant workers, printing press operators, factory workers etc.) and others may face today – past potential direct and secondary exposure to asbestos and mesothelioma.  

The court ruled: After reviewing the record in light of the contentions advanced on appeal, we affirm.

A brief summary of the case includes:

  • From 1967, when Steven was born, until 1975, when Shulton’s production facility moved, Wilfred Kaenzig (“Wiz”), Steven’s father, worked as a warehouse supervisor and manager at the facility.
  • The facility received a weekly delivery of approximately 40,000 pounds of raw powdered talc, and generally kept 60,000 to 80,000 pounds in stock for use in the manufacturing of cosmetic talcum powder products.
  • According to Wiz, defendant supplied ninety-nine percent of the raw talc used in the facility.
  • Before leaving work, Wiz attempted to brush the talc dust off his hair and clothes, but some residue always remained. Upon arriving home, and before he changed or showered, Wiz interacted with Steven by picking him up when he was a baby, and by playing and wrestling with him when he was older.
  • When Steven was a child, his mother also laundered Wiz’s talc-dust-coated work clothes in close proximity to her son.
  • Wiz indicated that he probably brought talc dust home every working day, from the day Steven was born in 1967, until Shulton moved the talc manufacturing facility to Tennessee in 1975 — a move that was motivated by complaints from purchasers of some of Shulton’s “high-priced” products that its product containers were coated with talc dust.
  • Steven was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma in October 2011.
  • He testified that he could not recall having been exposed to asbestos after 1975, and denied he was exposed to asbestos during his job as a residential fiberglass insulation installer.
  • He explained that when he began installing fiberglass insulation in 1988, the dangers of asbestos were well known and its use in installation had been discontinued. Further, he had always worked exclusively in residential settings, had been trained to recognize asbestos, had never removed insulation from a residence, and would not install fiberglass insulation in an older home until all of the asbestos insulation had been removed.

 To find out more on the case, see Case No. A-2512-13T3 – March 27, 2015.


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