Yesterday, Imerys Talc America and two affiliated entities filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the Delaware Bankruptcy Court (Case No. 19-10289). The case is pending before Judge Silverstein.
The first day affidavit filed in support of the Debtors’ chapter 11 petitions reveals that the Debtors are in the business of mining, processing and distributing talc. They supply it to third-party manufactures fur use in personal care and cosmetic products sold to consumers, such as baby powder, makeup and soap. The Debtors filed their bankruptcy cases because they have been sued by thousands of plaintiffs alleging personal injuries as a result of exposure to talc. In particular, these plaintiffs allege that they have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, other gynecological diseases, and respiratory cancers as a result of exposure to talc.
Although the Debtors’ claim that talc is safe, more than 14,000 individuals have sued them for alleged injuries and the Debtors claim that they do not have the financial ability to defend these cases or to fund litigation and settlements. Historically, the Debtors were the sole supplier of talc to Johnson & Johnson and have been routinely named as a co-defendant in cases brought against J&J related to alleged talc-related injuries.
We will continue to follow these cases as they progress and the impact on the pending litigation claims becomes more clear. Here is some current news coverage on the Debtors’ recent filings from Reuters and Bloomberg.