October 19, 2018
Partner Diane Sullivan has been named “Litigator of the Week” by The AmLaw Litigation Daily for securing a complete defense jury verdict for Johnson & Johnson in the mass tort talc litigation. The plaintiffs in this case alleged that exposure to asbestos in J&J’s baby powder contributed to her developing cancer. This lawsuit is one of many cases currently pending in courts around the United States, in which plaintiffs allege that the use of talcum powder caused lung cancer or ovarian cancer. Following four weeks of trial in New Jersey state court, the jury returned a unanimous, 7-0 verdict after deliberating for less than 30 minutes.
An AmLaw Litigation article highlights Ms. Sullivan’s extraordinary talents, saying she “delivered a slam dunk for the defense.”
When asked about the key elements of their presentation at trial, Ms. Sullivan explained, “We approached this case with an emphasis on two things: fraud and common sense… At the end of the day, the jurors held plaintiffs to their burden and found that they did not have the evidence to support their claims.”
The article highlights Ms. Sullivan’s role as a “stopper” when it comes to mass tort cases, mentioning previous representations for Merck and AstraZeneca. Ms. Sullivan noted she has been fortunate to have tried some big cases in jurisdictions around the country, but underscored the importance of this case. “This one for J&J was special because I was back in the courthouse where I grew up trying cases over 30 years ago, back in the county where I grew up and graduated public high school,” said Ms. Sullivan.