After decades of fending off mesothelioma lawsuits by denying the presence of asbestos in its talc, BASF and its long-time law firm have agreed to a $72.5 million settlement to resolve claims that they’d hidden evidence that their talc products contained the carcinogenic material. The settlement will provide compensation to thousands of people harmed by asbestos in the chemical giant’s product, and will also allow those who previously dropped their claims to refile them.
Settlement Comes After Years of Accusations that BASF and Its Lawyers Hid Evidence
According to legal ethics professor Stephen Gillers of New York University Law School, mesothelioma claims against BASF have been stymied by BASF’s “no asbestos” claims for years. “The allegation is that Cahill lawyers helped BASF hide and destroy evidence of asbestos in its talc,” he said.
His comments are confirmed by the plaintiffs’ attorneys, who said that BASF and its law firm, Cahill, Gordon & Reindel LLP, had concealed the presence of asbestos in their talc for nearly thirty years, dating back to a 1979 lawsuit that blamed the mesothelioma death of a tire worker on the company’s talc. As part of the settlement in that long-ago case, testing that confirmed asbestos in BASF’s talc was sealed by a confidentiality order. Ever since that time the company argued that the carcinogen was not present in its asbestos.
Federal Appeals Court Called Actions in Mesothelioma Lawsuits “Systematic Fraud”
The resolution of the case represents years of legal wrangling between mesothelioma victims, BASF and their attorneys. In 2012 a proposed class-action suit alleging “fraud on the court” was dismissed but then in 2014 a federal appeals court said the defendants’ actions were “systematic fraud” designed to “thwart the judicial process.” The case was later dismissed on appeal but more recently a federal appeals court in Philadelphia agreed with mesothelioma victims and reopened the case.
Much of the evidence presented came during a mesothelioma lawsuit filed by the daughter of a former employee of BASF, who argued that her illness was a result of second-hand exposure to the company’s talc. Her father, formerly a research scientist, gave a deposition indicating that the company had known about asbestos in its talc for years.
People who have been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma are the victims of asbestos exposure, and in many cases the companies responsible for this exposure were well aware of the dangers that their products caused. If you or someone you love has been affected by asbestos and you need guidance, the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net can help. Contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.