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    Why a 35-Year-Old Talc Lawsuit Against Engelhard / BASF Might Change your Life


    Did you or a close relative suffer from mesothelioma, asbestosis/lung cancer, pleural thickening or other asbestos-related disease resulting from exposure to talc and asbestos?


    Did they bring a lawsuit against the Engelhard Corporation in the 1980s or 1990s?

    If your answer is yes, you or your close relative may be eligible to receive a significant cash settlement from BASF SE, the world’s largest chemical maker, which acquired Engelhard Corp. in 2006 and changed its name to BASF Catalysts LLC.

    For over thirty years, Engelhard, BASF and their New York-based law firm, Cahill, Gordon & Reindel LLP successfully defended thousands of lawsuits by intentionally misrepresenting the existence of asbestos in Engelhard’s talc products.

    In July 2020, BASF and Cahill agreed to pay $72.5 million to settle claims that they hid evidence that the company's talc products contained asbestos.

    If you or a relative were a part of one of these lawsuits, keep reading to learn more, as you may be entitled to a significant cash settlement. Most importantly, make sure to contact an experienced talc and asbestos litigation lawyer to ensure you receive the settlement you deserve.

    Engelhard Talc and Asbestos

    Asbestos is a natural mineral composed of soft heat resistant fibers that are both practically useful and highly toxic. Though small quantities of asbestos are still used in hundreds of consumer products, exposure to asbestos can cause cancers and diseases like mesothelioma, asbestosis and pleural thickening among other injuries.

    The dangers of asbestos are well known, though its connection to talc continues to make headlines. Talc is used in a wide range of commercial and cosmetic products, ranging from tire filler to party balloons. Talc mines are often contaminated with asbestos, which has led to many cases of dangerous asbestos exposure.

    From 1967 to 1983, the Engelhard Corporation mined and produced talc from a Vermont mine that was sold under the brand name Emtal Talc. Unlike manufacturers that use talc to produce personal products like baby powder, Engelhard sold its talc to companies that produce commercial products like tire parts, auto body filler and wallboard.

    Thousands of employees at many companies were exposed to Emtal Talc during this time.

    In 1979, a tire worker died of mesothelioma, leading to a lawsuit against Engelhard. During the pre-trial hearings, evidence emerged of the presence of asbestos in one of Engelhard’s talc mines. However, the lawsuit was settled in 1983, and a confidentiality order sealed the evidence of the presence of asbestos in Emtal Talc.

    In The News:

    Bloomberg article on Talc Settlement Fraud Fund from BASF

    Bloomberg article on Talc Settlement Fraud Fund from BASF

    The Original Lawsuits Against Engelhard / BASF Dismissed

    Following this initial lawsuit and settlement, the law firm Cahill, Gordon & Reindel LLP defended many similar lawsuits on behalf of Engelhard and BASF. The plaintiffs suffered from asbestos-related illnesses and worked in tire plants or other manufacturing facilities where they had regular contact with Emtal Talc.

    In each case, Cahill asserted that Engelhard’s talc was asbestos-free and that no tests had ever proven otherwise. But the truth was very different.

    As described in an opinion by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Engelhard and Cahill were well aware of the presence of asbestos in Emtal Talc. Anticipating the thousands of lawsuits that would soon be brought against the company, Engelhard collected tests and reports proving the presence of asbestos in Emtal Talc and destroyed or secretly hid them away in a Cahill storage facility. Furthermore, Engelhard and Cahill created false reports by scientific experts to “prove” that Emtal Talc did not contain asbestos.

    Using this defense, Cahill succeeded in intimidating plaintiffs nationwide to dismiss their cases against Engelhard.

    A Terrible Injustice Finally Brought to Light

    The systematic fraud perpetrated by Engelhard and Cahill began to come to light in 2009, when Donna Paduano, the daughter of Engelhard scientist David Swanson, sued BASF in New Jersey State Court. Paduano had a terminal mesothelioma diagnosis and claimed that dust from her father’s clothes and visits to the Engelhard facility had caused her illness. In a deposition, her father stated that while working at Engelhard in the 1980s he was told that “asbestos in trace amounts was found in the [Emtal] talc.” Swanson also wrote that Engelhard’s legal department told him and other employees to “purge our records.”

    Swanson's testimony led attorneys to investigate Engelhard's cover-up of evidence of asbestos in its talc, and ultimately to sue BASF in federal court. In 2012, a class-action suit by asbestos claimants concerning Engelhard and Cahill’s deception and violation of legal ethics was brought in a U.S. district court in the Newark district of New Jersey, alleging that Engelhard committed fraudulent concealment and engaged in “deceptive fraud” intended to thwart the judicial process (Williams v. BASF Catalysts LLC). Moreover, the suit accused Cahill of significant ethics violations. As Stephen Gillers, professor of legal ethics at New York University Law School explains, lawyers are forbidden “from assisting clients in committing a fraud.”

    Although the district judge dismissed the case, a federal appeals court in Philadelphia revived the plaintiffs' fraud claims in 2014. In reinstating the lawsuit, Federal Judge Julio Fuentes stated that Engelhard and Cahill had “rigged the game from the beginning” by intentionally lying about and destroying the evidence of asbestos.

    In July of 2020, BASF and Cahill agreed to settle talc/ asbestos-related injury claims. As reported by Bloomberg, Cahill stated that “this matter relates to a representation that was undertaken more than 35 years ago, and we are pleased to have resolved it amicably.” BASF and Cahill, have agreed to pay a combined $72.5 million to resolve the claims against them, pending court approval. The settlement allows thousands of people who unsuccessfully sued Engelhard and BASF between 1984 and 2011 - or their relatives and beneficiaries, if they are no longer alive - to revive their claims and potentially receive significant cash compensation.

    Our mission

    Why you should Call The Rothenberg Law Firm Today

    The recent settlement agreement with BASF and Cahill, Gordon & Reindel LLP is a long-overdue moment of justice for thousands of hard-working families who have suffered due to Engelhard’s negligence and decades-long cover-up.

    50+ Years Winning Billions for the Injured and Their Families

    To receive the compensation that your family deserves, it is important to contact a law firm with experience helping asbestos victims in talc and asbestos exposure lawsuits, including class action and mass tort cases. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney at The Rothenberg Law Firm for a free consultation and to learn more about your rights.

    The Rothenberg Law Firm, LLP was initially involved in representing many hard working individuals who were affected by the fraud perpetrated by Engelhard. We want nothing more now than to seek justice for your family.

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