Pharmaceutical and cosmetics giant Johnson & Johnson may be the sole defendant in an estimated 12,700 talcum powder asbestos cancer lawsuits after its main talc supplier recently filed for bankruptcy under the weight of thousands of such cases across the country. Imerys Talc USA, which had supplied Johnson & Johnson with talc sourced from overseas mines, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in a Delaware federal court and was subsequently released as a defendant from a nearly two-month trial in California state court.
“After carefully evaluating all possible options, we determined pursuing Chapter 11 protection is the best course of action to address our historic talc-related liabilities and position the companies for continued growth,” Imerys Talc America President Giorgio La Motta said in a statement. Under the law, companies who file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy are protected from litigation, a move that allows the insolvent company to reorganize and determine the best way to settle claims with creditors.
Legal experts have speculated that after juries handed down multi-billion dollar verdicts in 2018, Imerys Talc USA essentially saw the writing on the wall and chose to insulate itself from potentially billions more in verdicts. In just a handful of trials last year, juries handed down a combined excess of $5 billion in plaintiffs verdicts, including a $4.7 billion award from a Missouri state court to 22 plaintiffs or their estates who claimed to have suffered serious health complications as a result of asbestos in Johnson & Johnson talcum powder products.
Thousands of plaintiffs across the country claim Johnson & Johnson knowingly manufactured and sold talc-based products like Baby Powder and Shower to Shower with asbestos-contaminated talc sourced by Imerys. Both talc and asbestos are naturally occurring minerals and are often found in deposits side by side one another which can lead to cross contamination if reasonable precautions are not taken by talc-mining companies.
Asbestos exposure is directly associated with developing several serious health conditions, including mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of cancer that commonly grows tumors in thin linings of tissue surrounding vital organs like the lungs, abdomen, and heart. Health officials warn there is no safe level of asbestos exposure and precautions must be taken when handling the substance.
Although nothing can undo the harm caused by a mesothelioma cancer diagnosis, the law allows victims or their surviving family members to bring asbestos cancer lawsuits against negligent companies who were responsible for exposure to the deadly carcinogen. By filing a mesothelioma lawsuit, plaintiffs can recover compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, and the pain and suffering of living with the disease.
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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.