The world’s largest chemical company recently agreed to a settlement in a class action lawsuit brought by plaintiffs who allege that the company lied about the presence of asbestos in its talc, which caused various types of cancer including mesothelioma. Per the terms of the settlement, German chemical company BASF will set aside $72.5 million for plaintiffs who filed asbestos cancer lawsuits against the company between March 1984 and March 2011, including those whose claims were dismissed or voluntarily withdrawn.
The settlement still awaits the approval of a New Jersey federal judge, and if approved, it would allow BASF to resolve claims covered by the agreed upon time period while not admitting any wrongdoing to the allegations made in the lawsuits. Specifically, the claims concerned Englehard Corp., which BASF acquired in 2006, which produced talc based products used in both industrial settings and consumer products.
According to the asbestos cancer lawsuit, one plaintiff claimed that she developed cancer as a result of secondhand exposure to carcinogenic materials brought home on the clothes of her father, who was a research assistant who claimed that the defendants knew about contaminated talc for years. The case went through years of litigation, during which time the case was dismissed but later resurrected by a federal court that found that the defendants engaged in systemic fraud in order to derail the judicial process.
BASF is the latest high-profile company to pay victims who claim they developed mesothelioma and other serious forms of cancer from exposure to asbestos in industrial or consumer talc-based products. Perhaps the most notorious thus far is Johnson & Johnson, which has seen juries in state courts across the country award billions in total compensation to dozens of plaintiffs who claim they developed mesothelioma or ovarian cancer from using the company’s iconic Baby Powder and Shower to Shower products.
Talcum powder asbestos cases like the ones against BASF and Johnson & Johnson claim that defendants knew about the presence of deadly asbestos fibers in their talc-based products but provided no warning to consumers about the dangers of exposure. While talc does not contain asbestos itself, the two are both naturally occurring minerals that can be found side by side one another, which may lead to cross contamination.
The most serious health issue caused by asbestos exposure is developing mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of cancer that commonly affects the thin linings of tissue surrounding vital organs such as the lungs, heart, and abdominal cavity. Under the law, mesothelioma cancer victims may be entitled to substantial compensation for their medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost income.
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If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced Arizona mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help pay for your medical treatment to help you and your family live a more comfortable life.