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Johnson & Johnson Hit With $417M Verdict In 1st California Talc Cancer Trial

Kiesel Law LLP partner Helen Zukin member of legal team that won historic verdict on behalf of women against Johnson & Johnson

By Daniel Siegal

Law360, Los Angeles (August 21, 2017, 1:24 PM EDT) — The first California state jury to evaluate the possible link between Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products and ovarian cancer set a high-water mark on Monday with a $417 million verdict for the company’s role in causing a woman’s terminal cancer, surpassing large awards from earlier trials in Missouri.

After two days of deliberations following the four-week trial in Los Angeles, the jury found for plaintiff Eva Echeverria, finding that J&J had failed to warn consumers about the increased risk of ovarian cancer caused by its Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower products, and that Echeverria’s terminal ovarian cancer was caused by her use of those products.

The jury awarded Echeverria $70 million in compensatory damages and slapped J&J and its subsidiary and co-defendant Johnson & Johnson Consumer with $347 million in punitive damages, far surpassing even the eight- and nine-figure verdicts the company has been hit with after similar trials in St. Louis.

Kiesel Law LLP partner Helen Zukin  tried this case with Mark P Robinson Jr. and Allen Smith.


Helen Zukin, Partner at Kiesel Law LLP

Helen Zukin expressed her gratitude to the jury and said, “This is a verdict on behalf of all women in America who use Johnson and Johnson Baby Powder. Now, perhaps, for the first time in 40 years, Johnson and Johnson will warn women of the risks of ovarian cancer. A risk J&J has know about for decades.”



Daily Journal Awards Paul Kiesel: Top 100 Lawyers In California for 2017



Verdict Against Nissan

25 Million for Paul R. Kiesel Clients


A Los Angeles Jury decided that the braking system software defect in a Nissan-made SUV was the cause of a traffic accident that killed three people, awarding roughly $25 million to the surviving driver and family members of the deceased.

Nissan North America Inc. faced claims in the nearly month-long trial from both Solomon Mathenge, represented by Paul Kiesel, whose Infiniti QX56 SUV in 2012 crashed into a minivan in a Hollywood intersection, killing a woman and her two daughters, and by family members of the deceased.

Solomon Mathenge was initially charged with vehicular manslaughter after the collision. Those charges were only dropped in December of last year. Cruz sued Mathenge after the accident, but later dropped those claims and Mathenge joined his lawsuit against Nissan.

After charging Mathenge, prosecutors became aware that the brake failure Mathenge claimed he experienced was similar to the failures alleged in a federal class action lawsuit against Nissan involving the same Infiniti vehicles. Nissan settled the case in 2014 in a deal that offered compensation of up to $800 for 350,000 2004-2008 Nissan Titans, Armadas and Infiniti QX56’s.

That lawsuit dealt also with supposedly faulty delta stroke sensors, the software element that Mathenge and Cruz’s attorneys claim caused the crash. The plaintiff class accused the auto manufacturer of withholding information about the defect from the public “to [Nissan’s] significant financial gain.”  Prosecutors interviewed class members in the federal lawsuit, and after determining that they could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mathenge’s vehicle didn’t have the same alleged defect, dropped the charges against him.

The trial was before Judge Randolph Hammock and lasted five weeks.  The case, Cruz v. Nissan North America, et al., was tried in the Superior Court of California for Los Angeles County.


Closing Moments from Nissan Trial, Clip Courtesy of Courtroom View Network



Paul Kiesel Featured In This Month’s Issue

Of Attorney At Law Magazine

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$240 Million Settlement Reached for

First Group of Wright Metal-on-Metal Hip Cases


Kiesel Law LLP is proud to announce that a settlement has been reached with Wright Medical under which it has agreed to compensate 1,292 people who had Wright metal-on-metal hip implants and who suffered injuries due to the failure of those defective medical devices.  In addition to the resolved claims, Helen Zukin of Kiesel Law LLP, spearheaded the effort and continues to work with Pope McGlamry LLP, Boucher LLP and the rest of the leadership team to resolve the remaining 2,300 cases.

Helen Zukin said, “This settlement is the result of 5 years of litigation, one bellwether jury trial and years of settlement negotiations.  Many of the victims of these defective hip implants will finally receive compensation for their injuries.”  Wright Medical Conserve® Cup implants failed for various reasons such as cup loosening, metallosis and high levels of cobalt-chromium ions in a patient’s body. Data presented at the British Hip Society Annual Conference in March 2011 revealed a failure rate of 21% at 4 years and 49% at 6 years.




Kiesel Law LLP Takes on Talc


A bottle of Johnson and Johnson Baby Powder is seen in a photo illustration taken in New York, February 24, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar/Illustration -

Emerging on the national scene is litigation filed against pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson regarding the company’s talc-based products Shower to Shower and Johnson’s Baby Powder, which have both been linked to an increased risk of ovarian cancer. On August 2, 2016, Judge Ann Jones of the Los Angeles Superior Court, who serves as the Assistant Supervising Judge of Complex Litigation Courts, granted a Petition to Coordinate various actions filed against Johnson & Johnson. At the hearing on the Petition, Johnson & Johnson contended that Santa Clara County was the proper site for the proceedings, whereas Plaintiffs reasoned the site should be Los Angeles County because a majority of plaintiffs in the litigation will be from Southern California. Ultimately, Plaintiffs’ argument prevailed as Judge Jones recommended Los Angeles County as the site of the coordinated proceedings.  Kiesel Law LLP Partner Helen Zukin successfully argued the petition alongside Mark Robinson from Robinson Calcagnie, Inc.

In a recently concluded trial, a jury  awarded over $70 million to a California plaintiff in a talcum powder case against Johnson & Johnson.

Kiesel Law LLP has the expertise and resources necessary to handle your talc case. If you have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and have used Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder, Shower to Shower, or other talc-based products, please contact our firm for a free consultation.




Paul Kiesel Selected Liaison Counsel

for Porter Ranch Gas Leak Litigation


The 86 law firms involved in the Gas Leak Cases have unanimously selected

Paul Kiesel to help lead the fight on behalf of those affected

by the largest natural gas leak in history

The Porter Ranch gas leak which led to the displacement of approximately 8,000 families, still finds 1,000 families that have not returned to their homes out of fear for their health.  Judge John Wiley has ordered that SoCal Gas pay for the cleaning and continued relocation of residents as a result of the leak.  “Because it created the nuisance, SoCal Gas must bear the cost […] until residents are safely home,” Wiley wrote in his ruling. He also said that prospective homebuyers would be wary of purchasing a home that had not undergone a thorough post-leak cleaning.  “It is a very specific form of cleaning which involves HEPA vacuums,” said Paul Kiesel, Liaison Counsel speaking on behalf of 86 law firms that have filed 157 cases against Southern California Gas Company.  “It involves steam cleaning; it involves surface wiping to get rid of any hazardous material that might exist.”

Kiesel Law continues to take the lead on resolving issues related to SoCalGas’ house cleaning, and issues related to residents’ relocation and reimbursement issues.




Kiesel Law LLP is representing the Villanueva Family in all claims arising as a result

of the death of their son, Pedro Villanueva


On the evening of July 3, 2016, Villanueva, a 19-year-old student, was shot to death by undercover officers with the California Highway Patrol in Fullerton, California. The officers also shot and injured passenger Francisco Orozco. The officers began following Villanueva’s vehicle because Villanueva had attended a sideshow, which is an informal gathering of young adults and their vehicles in parking lots.

 “The only basis the undercover officers had for following Villanueva was that he attended the sideshow”, said attorney Paul R. Kiesel, who represents the family. “At most, the officers could have issued a ticket”.   Instead, the CHP officers followed Pedro and Francisco for over five miles without once identify themselves to Villanueva as law enforcement, as they were driving an unmarked police car, wearing plain clothes (no police uniforms), and failed to engage their loud speaker or siren.  The undercover officers then followed Villanueva down a cul-de-sac and opened fire on Villanueva’s vehicle killing Villanueva and seriously injuring his passenger before identifying themselves as law enforcement.


Passenger Francisco Orozco recalls the panic he and Pedro felt while being chased by the unidentified car.  “We were followed from the Santa Fe Springs Swap Meet by a black car and chased. They never once used a siren, a loud speaker or provided any warning whatsoever before they started shooting. They never identified themselves as law enforcement until after they stopped shooting.”  Immediately after the shooting, the undercover officers did not provide C.P.R. or provide any other emergency medical care to Mr. Villanueva, instead waiting for paramedics to arrive. As a result, Pedro Villanueva died from his injuries.

“Villanueva and Orozco feared for their lives because they did not know who was chasing them,” Paul Kiesel said, adding that law enforcement has never been “so brazen in their exercise of deadly force.”


“It wasn’t until the bullets stopped that the officers identified themselves as police,” Kiesel said. “They were unarmed. They had Fiji water in the center console.”  Villanueva’s parents have called for justice and answers about why their son was shot. Pedro, they said, was a “good boy.”   “We have no words,” said Villanueva’s brother, Armando, 21. “There’s nothing we can say.”   The brothers worked together at the family restaurant, Villanueva Mexican Grill, and had hoped to one day open a branch of their own.



Kiesel Law LLP Wins California Supreme Court Victory for Consumers of Organic foods

“To buyers and sellers alike, ‘labels matter.’”


Today, the CA Supreme Court held that state law claims which alleged that produce distributed and sold by Herb Thyme was being intentionally mislabeled as organic is not preempted by federal law. The Court further stated that lawsuits alleging intentional mislabeling of organic produce promote, rather than hinder, Congress’s purposes and objectives. The class action filed by Kiesel Law LLP alleging false advertising and unfair competition, can now proceed.

Kiesel Law LLP is proud of this victory for consumers across California. If you believe that a company is misleading in its advertising, we would be interested in hearing about it.





In the first trial against Wright Medical regarding the company’s metal-on-metal Conserve Hip device, an Atlanta, Georgia jury unanimously awarded $11 million in damages. The jury found that Wright defectively designed the Conserve model hip device and negligently misrepresented the design features, resulting in Ms. Christiansen’s harm. Congratulations to Kiesel Law’s own Helen Zukin and Cherisse Cleofe, as well as Ray Boucher, Michael McGlamry and Kirk Pope for their excellent and hard work during this two week trial.



FDA Recalls Profemur Cobalt Chrome Neck

Kiesel Law LLP Files the First Case Against Device Manufacturer Wright Medical


Wright designed and manufactured the now recalled PROFEMUR Long Cobalt Chrome 8 Degree Varus/Valgus Modular Neck, Part 1254, a component of the company’s PROFEMUR Hip System. The recalled device was distributed from June 15, 2009, to July 31, 2015. After releasing the device, Wright sold its hip division, OrtoRecon, to MicroPort Orthopedics Inc. in January 2014. MicroPort continued to distribute the device until the device’s recall.

Kiesel Law LLP, committed to halting the sale of defective medical devices, filed the first case against Wright for injuries caused by the PROFEMUR Long Cobalt Chrome neck component, and also handles cases involving the Wright Profemur-Z titanium hip system. If you have undergone a hip replacement surgery in which you believe the PROFEMUR Long Cobalt Chrome neck or Profemur-Z titanium neck was utilized, please contact our firm for a free consultation.



City of Los Angeles Files Lawsuit Against PricewaterhouseCoopers




PricewaterhouseCoopers fraudulently misrepresented its ability to implement a new billing system for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power in order to secure a $70-million municipal contract and subsequently failed to deliver, according to a civil lawsuit filed Friday by the city attorney’s office.  According to the city attorney’s complaint, PricewaterhouseCoopers “overstated its knowledge, expertise and skills necessary to convert” the existing system and launch a new software platform.

The alleged misrepresentation began after the L.A. utility issued a request for proposals in an effort to modernize its nearly 40 years old customer care and billing system.  As a result of PricewaterhouseCoopers’s lack of skills and experience to perform the work stipulated in the contract, the LADWP’s system was unable to properly tally service bills for tens of thousands of customers.

Kiesel Law LLP is acting as special counsel for the City of Los Angeles.


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