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Johnson & Johnson Supplier Settles Talc-Asbestos Claims for $5 Million

A Paris-based minerals company has agreed to settle claims by more than 20 women involving asbestos-tainted talc that they say the company supplied to global products giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J). According to Bloomberg Business, the minerals company, a unit of Imerys SA, refused to acknowledge that their talc was tainted or dangerous, yet in a settlement that has not yet been made public, they have agreed to pay 22 women at least $5 million.

The settlement, reports Bloomberg, comes around the same time that a trial over the women’s ovarian cancer claims begins in St. Louis, “leaving J&J and its consumer-products unit as the only defendants in the case.” The settlement “gets Imerys out of a high-profile case focusing in part on whether it sold its talc knowing it was tainted with asbestos.”

Widener University Law Professor Jean Eggen believes the women may have accepted the relatively modest payment from Imerys to gain a tactical advantage at trial. “It will make the trial cleaner” she said, because now the plaintiff’s attorney “can put all his eggs in the J&J basket and not have to worry about evidence against Imerys.”

Bloomberg reports that Imerys faces around 9,000 claims that talc it supplied to J&J caused ovarian cancer and mesothelioma—a deadly form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.

“The company has been forced to defend itself in a string of trials, most recently in New Jersey, where a jury ordered Imerys and J&J in April to pay $117 million to a banker who claimed his asbestos-linked cancer was tied to baby powder use.” In that case, the jury said J&J was liable for 70 percent of the damages while Imerys was ordered to pay the remaining 30 percent.

Have you been exposed to asbestos?

If you have been exposed to asbestos, see your doctor right away—even if you do not have any symptoms. It can take decades for symptoms of mesothelioma to develop, so by the time you notice changes in the body, the disease has already progressed to its advanced stages, making it much more difficult to treat.

Your doctor can administer tests to assess your risk of developing mesothelioma and set up a monitoring plan that could help detect mesothelioma much sooner—before symptoms develop. Early detection could lead to better treatment options and outcomes, so see your doctor today. 

 

Sources

Fisk, Margaret Cronin, and Jef Feeley. "Imerys Unit Settles Talc Claims for at Least $5 Million." Bloomberg.com. Bloomberg, 01 June 2018. Web. 14 June 2018.

"Talcum Powder and Cancer." American Cancer Society. American Cancer Society, Inc., 2018. Web. 14 June 2018.