Linda Zimmerman, a retired California schoolteacher living with terminal malignant mesothelioma, went to an in-person trial Tuesday against talc supplier Whittaker Clark & Daniels Inc.
Zimmerman used different brands of talc powder from 1954-2009 and had no idea that the talc she was still using in July of 2018 contained asbestos.
Zimmerman’s stepfather had worked at an asbestos products factory, Unarco, when she was growing up in Illinois, and Whittaker will argue that that was the source of Zimmerman’s exposure — that or her two sons’ jobs as brake mechanics decades later, which could have exposed them to the asbestos in brake linings.
However, Zimmerman’s stepfather was careful not to contaminate the family, entering through the basement every day after work, stripping down, showering and changing clothes.
After Zimmerman’s mesothelioma was confirmed, she underwent an “excruciating” 10-plus-hour surgery and daily radiation from mid-October to mid-November 2018. After she developed a scarring-like condition called pneumonitis from the radiation, she had to take immunosuppressant steroids. Because of her immunosuppressed condition, she won’t be able to appear in person at the trial.
Whittaker, a supplier of minerals, colors, and chemicals, actually sold asbestos from the 1940s to the 1960. The company claims it “did not mine talc, and it did not mill the talc…it was only a supplier” and thus had no role in putting “all those powders in Zimmerman’s hands”.