BASF SE and its attorneys recently settled a class action fraud lawsuit involving allegedly contaminated talc. BASF SE is a large chemical company based out of Germany that produces and markets chemicals around the world.
The lawsuit claims that the company knowingly sold talc contaminated with asbestos, which caused people to develop cancer. It also alleges that the company tried to cover up evidence of the contamination.
Actions taken decades ago were called into question
Some of the allegations related to this case involve actions taken decades ago before BASF purchased Engelhard Corporation in 2006. Engelhard Corporation owned a talc mine in Vermont, and the talc mined from that location was allegedly contaminated with asbestos.
It was used in industrial applications, like auto body filler. It was also used in consumer products, like wallboard and balloons.
However, it was not commonly used in personal care products, the way Johnson & Johnson’s talc was used. Johnson & Johnson is a different company that recently has been facing numerous lawsuits regarding potentially contaminated talc.
When asbestos claimants tried to hold Engelhard Corporation responsible for the contamination that caused their cancer, the company allegedly lied about the contamination in their products.
The company allegedly tried to cover up the truth, which persuaded claimants to drop their cases or settle their cases for a significantly lower price than what would be considered fair. The company’s lawyers allegedly helped hide and destroy evidence.
According to media reports, the company claims that the allegations are untrue. However, BASF SE and its attorneys agreed to pay $72.5 million to those who filed a lawsuit against the company between 1984 and 2011, even if a claimant’s lawsuit was dismissed or voluntarily dismissed.
The recent settlement must still be approved by a judge. However, it could offer justice for some claimants who did end up dropping their cases or settling for an unfair price.