The long-time talc supplier for one of the country’s largest pharmaceutical and cosmetics giants recently agreed to settlement terms in its bankruptcy proceedings, which would effectively forfeit all of the supplier’s North American assets. The terms of the agreement call for France-based Imerys SA to auction off all of Imerys Talc America, Imerys Talc Vermont, and Imerys Talc Canada and have the assets placed into a trust that would compensate victims who claimed the company caused their debilitating asbestos cancer conditions.
Imerys Talc USA declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy back in February 2109 under the weight of an estimated 14,000 talcum powder asbestos cancer lawsuits in which the company was enjoined with Johnson & Johnson. Until that filing, Imerys Talc USA had for decades supplied talc to Johnson & Johnson, the New Brunswick, New Jersey-based cosmetics company that produces the iconic Baby Powder and other talc-based products.
Reports from January 2020 indicate that Imerys Talc USA had been shopping its operations for outright sale. With its Chapter 11 Bankruptcy filing, Imerys Talc USA was able to consolidate all of the pending lawsuits in state and federal courts in front of a single judge and remove itself from potentially millions, if not billions, of dollars in liability, which Johnson & Johnson still faces.
Currently, Johnson & Johnson faces as many as 20,000 talcum powder asbestos cancer lawsuits in state and federal courts brought by victims and surviving family members who claim the company knew for decades about asbestos contamination with its talcum powder products but provided no warning to consumers. As a result of the asbestos contamination in its talc supplied by Imerys, the lawsuits claim, the victims developed serious forms of cancer, including mesothelioma.
Although talc itself does not contain deadly asbestos fibers in it, the two are both naturally occurring minerals that can often be found in deposits side by side one another. If talc suppliers and those who process the mineral do not take reasonable safety precautions, cross contamination can occur and put consumers at undue risk of developing mesothelioma cancer.
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer directly linked to asbestos exposure. The disease commonly affects thin linings of tissue surrounding vital organs such as the lungs, abominable cavity, and the heart. Thus far, juries in state courts in Missouri, California, and New Jersey have handed down over $5 billion in total compensation to dozens of plaintiffs who claimed their mesothelioma cancer and other serious diseases were directly caused by exposure to asbestos fibers in talc-based products produced and sold by Johnson & Johnson throughout the years.
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If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced 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.