The defense team for Johnson & Johnson attempted to undercut the testimony of the plaintiff’s expert witness; however, Dr. William Longo maintained his position.
The Asbestos Controversy
Johnson & Johnson is currently on trial to determine if its baby powder, which was allegedly tainted with asbestos, caused Carolyn Weirick to develop mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a deadly cancer of the linings of the lungs.
Weirick is a former school counselor who reportedly used Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder and its adult Shower to Shower powder for approximately 40 year. Weirick was diagnosed with mesothelioma and her doctors have given her little chance of survival.
Weirick’s case is one of hundreds of similar cases that are pending against Johnson & Johnson across the country. Most of the cases involve women who claim that Johnson & Johnson’s powder caused them to develop ovarian cancer.
Plaintiff Expert Witness Testimony
Weirick and her defense team hired Dr. William Longo to testify as an expert witness at trial.
According to his website, Dr. Longo is a Material Scientist/Electron Microscopist who specializes in the analysis of asbestos containing materials. In 1983, he founded Micro Analytical Laboratories, which became one of the first commercial labs in the country to provide Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) analysis of asbestos-containing air and dust samples. Under Dr. Longo’s guidance, MAS has grown “into a leading laboratory in the fields of chemical analysis and materials characterization for a number of industries including: occupational health safety, environmental, engineering services, industrial hygiene, and building and construction materials.”
Dr. Longo has served as an expert witness in numerous talc powder trials involving asbestos.
Johnson & Johnson’s Attempt to Discredit Dr. Longo
Johnson & Johnson’s defense team challenged Dr. William Longo’s testimony, attempting to use his own words against him.
Johnson & Johnson attorney Warrington Parker questioned Dr. Longo regarding whether Johnson & Johnson had exceeded industry testing standards during the 1970s with its use of high-powered microscopes.
Parker pointed to the fact that Dr. Longo had previously complimented the McCrone Group for being the best materials testing lab in the country. The McCrone Group, located in Illinois, has supplied expert witnesses for Johnson & Johnson in its recent trials and has claimed that no asbestos has been found in its baby powders.
Parker said, “You said literally it (McCrone) was the best lab in the country.” Dr. Longo acknowledged that he had made that statement.
Parker also questioned Dr. Longo about the Food & Drug Administration’s audit of his Georgia-based MAS lab. Parker asked, “The FDA identified deficiencies, correct?” Parker asked. “They called them objectionable practices,” Longo said.
Parker asked Longo if the FDA audit identified contamination at the lab. Dr. Longo replied that the problem was simply a bureaucratic error in that forms had not been signed and that an unopened container was found.
Parker continued to question Longo, “You would agree attorneys for Johnson & Johnson asked you under oath about your lab that was found to be (FDA) un-compliant?” Dr. Longo agreed.
The trial against Johnson & Johnson is being held in Los Angeles Superior Court and is presided over by Judge Cary Nishimoto. It is live streamed courtesy of Courtroom View Network.
Update: After spending decades assuring the public that its baby powder is not contaminated with asbestos, J&J just recalled a batch of baby powder after FDA testing found asbestos in the product.