Top Industry Report Shows 2022 Mesothelioma Lawsuit Trends

Courthouse where mesothelioma patients can file asbestos lawsuits.

Each year, KCIC, a consulting firm based in Washington, D.C., releases a report on trends in asbestos filings. The Asbestos Litigation: KCIC Industry Report 2022 breaks down asbestos litigation trends along several metrics, like asbestos exposure type, filing location and type of disease.

In 2022, mesothelioma lawsuits made up over half of all asbestos filings. The percent of mesothelioma filings increased by 2% over 2021, while filings for all other disease types decreased.

Asbestos Filings Trends by Disease
Disease 2021 Filings 2022 Filings
Mesothelioma 1,819 1,859
Lung Cancer 1,518 1,251
Other Cancers 71 60
Non-Malignant Asbestos Diseases 292 266

High Number of Lawsuits Alleging Talc Exposure

Recent years have seen an increase in filings alleging mesothelioma caused by asbestos-contaminated talc. In 2022, people filed 376 mesothelioma lawsuits alleging talc exposure. This number is an almost 30% increase from KCIC’s 2021 report.

Talc exposure lawsuits became more common after the release of a 2018 Reuters report. The report detailed how Johnson & Johnson (J&J) conspired for decades to cover up the presence of asbestos in its talc products. Since 2018, an average of over 15% of mesothelioma filings have alleged talc exposure. In 2022, over 20% of all asbestos filings included talc exposure allegations.

As the KCIC report notes, these filings have resulted in several high-profile verdicts.

Case Spotlight: Woman Wins Major Verdict Against Talc Manufacturer

In December 2022, a jury awarded more than $50 million in compensation to a woman with mesothelioma. The jury found the cosmetics company Avon responsible for her exposure to asbestos-contaminated talcum powder.

In its findings, the jury noted that Avon chose to sell several talc products that the company discovered had high levels of asbestos. It continued to sell them for more than 100 days after this discovery in order to exhaust the company’s stock of contaminated products.

Historically, the federal government has had little power to regulate the cosmetics industry. This has likely resulted in many cases of asbestos exposure from talc products.

But in December 2022, President Biden signed the Modernization of Cosmetics Regulation Act (MoCRA). The law contains several provisions to help regulate asbestos in cosmetic products. It also tasks the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to present a proposed rule for asbestos testing by the end of 2023.

High Number of Filings in Locations With Significant History of Asbestos Use

The KCIC report also breaks down asbestos filings by location. Like in previous years, in 2022, a large number of cases were filed in locations with a long history of asbestos use. The top five states for mesothelioma filings were Illinois, New York, California, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Los Angeles, California, had the largest overall increase of asbestos filings in any jurisdiction, in large part because of a 55% increase in mesothelioma filings.

Many industries in Los Angeles used asbestos before the 1980s. Because mesothelioma has a long latency period, people exposed decades ago may still be at risk of developing the disease.

Locations Throughout the Country Continue to See Asbestos Filings

Asbestos was used throughout the country in many industries and products. In 2022, asbestos lawsuits were filed in 130 different cities and counties.

Mesothelioma patients and their family members can seek compensation from asbestos companies responsible for their exposure. Experienced mesothelioma law firms provide legal services to asbestos victims throughout the country.

Compensation from a mesothelioma settlement or verdict can help pay for treatment costs and provide financial security.

Other Trends in Mesothelioma Litigation in 2022

Other metrics the KCIC report highlighted include number of defendants per case and age of people filing. Both provide their own insights into asbestos litigation trends.

Defendant Trends

Mesothelioma lawsuits often involve asbestos victims suing several defendants. This happens for a number of reasons. For example, people who worked in common asbestos occupations may have experienced exposure at many different jobsites. As such, more than one company may be liable for a single person’s mesothelioma diagnosis.

In 2022, mesothelioma filings contained an average of 64 defendants. As the KCIC report points out, this is similar to past years, despite a number of large asbestos companies filing for bankruptcy.

Bankrupt asbestos companies set up trust funds to compensate victims. But mesothelioma lawsuits generally result in higher compensation than bankruptcy trust claims.

Trends in Age of People Filing

According to the KCIC report, the youngest people filing asbestos lawsuits in 2022 were mesothelioma patients alleging talc exposure. The youngest mesothelioma patient who filed a lawsuit in 2022 was 23 years old.

Younger mesothelioma patients are rare, in part because of the long latency period of mesothelioma. However, people exposed to talcum powder during childhood may develop mesothelioma earlier than those exposed later in life.

The young age of a number of mesothelioma patients filing asbestos lawsuits highlights the danger of asbestos-contaminated talc.

The KCIC yearly reports continue to provide valuable insights into asbestos litigation. Among other things, they show how asbestos exposure continues to impact people today. The 2022 report was no exception.