A pathologist told a California state court jury Wednesday that a mesothelioma patient exposed herself several thousandfold beyond the normal background amount of asbestos with her daily application of talcum powder, but had no way of knowing it.
Dr. Theresa Emory appeared as the first witness in the in-person Los Angeles County Superior Court talc suit by Linda Zimmerman, born in 1942, who now has a terminal case of malignant mesothelioma that she says was caused by 64 years of daily talcum powder use. Talc supplier Whittaker Clark & Daniels Inc. should be held responsible.
On cross-examination, Emory admitted that her practice as a pathologist does not involve attributing causes to the pathologies she diagnoses, and that she charges $5,000 per 10-hour day for her time as an expert witness. Emory also admitted that not all talc includes asbestos.
During opening arguments Tuesday, Zimmerman’s lawyer, Leah Kagan, told the jury selected Monday that the retired longtime California teacher used Johnson’s baby powder from 1954 to 2018, a brand called Jean Naté from 1956 to 1992, Avon Unforgettable from 1964 to the 1980s, and Chanel No. 5 powder from 1964 to 2009. Zimmerman was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2018.
Part of Whittaker’s defense will center on Zimmerman’s possible exposure from 1952 to 1963 during her childhood in Illinois, when her stepfather worked at an asbestos products factory, Unarco.