Settling Talc Claims

Imerys SA Reports Settling Talc Claims

According to a story published today in Bloomberg, a unit of Imerys SA, a supplier of talc to Johnson & Johnson and various other similar businesses, has agreed to settle claims filed by 22 women who allege they developed ovarian cancer or mesothelioma due to exposure to asbestos-tainted talc sold by the company to consumer products corporation J&J for use in its popular powders.

Imerys SA Reports Settling Talc ClaimsIt has been reported that the minerals supplier, based in France, did not admit – as part of the settlement – that their talc was dangerous.

However, exact details of the agreement with the nearly two-dozen plaintiffs have not been released though two unnamed individuals familiar with the case reported that the amount paid will be at least $5 million.

This deal will allow Imerys to exit a high-profile case involving the women, which was due to begin on June 6. With Imerys out of the picture, the only defendant left in the upcoming St. Louis-based trial will be Johnson & Johnson.

Imerys Talc America “has reached a resolution with the 22 plaintiffs and is being dismissed from the action,” Gwen Myers, a company spokeswoman, said in an emailed statement, leaving out any further details.

However, Imerys still faces about 9,000 claims which allege that the company’s talc included hazardous asbestos, which can easily mix with talc while being mined. The two minerals are often found side-by-side.

Both Johnson & Johnson and Imerys have already been involved in a bevy of trials where plaintiffs allege that their cancer was caused by tainted baby powder or other talc-based products.

In some cases, the two companies have emerged victorious, convincing juries that the iconic baby powder in the white can – first produced in 1893 – is perfectly safe for use.

A recent case, however, resulted in a $117 million award for the plaintiff, with Imerys responsible for 30% of the payout. Another trial, just ending last week, resulted in a nearly $22 million award and another bitter loss for J&J and Imerys.