A thirty-year saga that saw manufacturing giant BASF and its law firm battle thousands afflicted by mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases came to an end after the company agreed to pay victims a $72.5 million settlement. The defendants admitted to having hidden evidence of asbestos contamination in their talc products. As part of the settlement, those who had previously dropped their suits against the company will have the opportunity to enter new claims.
BASF Lawyers Helped Hide and Destroy Asbestos Evidence in Mesothelioma Case
The story behind the remarkable settlement dates back to 1979, when a tire worker’s family sued the company over his death from malignant mesothelioma. BASF was represented by the law firm of Cahill, Gordon & Reindel LLP, which eventually negotiated a settlement with the family. The agreement included a confidentiality order that sealed testing results confirming that BASF’s talc was contaminated with asbestos. Ever since that case’s settlement, the company has fraudulently insisted that there was no asbestos in its products.
Remarking on the case, legal ethics professor Stephen Gillers of New York University Law School said that this “no asbestos” claim has been offered in a way that has put other mesothelioma victims at a disadvantage. “The allegation is that Cahill lawyers helped BASF hide and destroy evidence of asbestos in its talc,” he said.
BASF Roadblock Overturned by Testimony from Mesothelioma Victim’s Father
The eventual resolution of the $72.5 million settlement followed evidence offered in the case of a BASF employee’s daughter who was herself diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma. The father had been a research scientist for the company and the case accused the company of causing her second-hand asbestos exposure. Her father provided a deposition confirming that the company had been aware of asbestos contamination of its talc for years.
The battle to obtain payment for victims was hard fought and included a class-action lawsuit that alleged “fraud on the court” which was dismissed in 2012 and a 2014 ruling by a federal appeals court which determined that BASF and its attorneys had perpetrated “systematic fraud” designed to “thwart the judicial process.” That decision was appealed and then then recently reopened, leading to the recent agreement.
Page Reviewed and Edited by Mesothelioma Attorney Paul Danziger
Paul Danziger grew up in Houston, Texas and earned a law degree from Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago. For over 25 years years he has focused on representing mesothelioma cancer victims and others hurt by asbestos exposure. Paul and his law firm have represented thousands of people diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer, recovering significant compensation for injured clients. Every client is extremely important to Paul and he will take every call from clients who want to speak with him. Paul and his law firm handle mesothelioma cases throughout the United States.