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Mineral Companies Ordered to Pay Family $22 Million in Asbestos-Tainted Talc Case

A chemical company and a major paint company have been ordered by a California jury to pay the family of a former paint mixer and tinter $22 million in an asbestos case. The painter, who died at the age of 72 from mesothelioma, brought the lawsuit with his wife before his death to “prevent companies from harming workers in the future.” In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs claimed two mineral companies knowingly sold asbestos-tainted talc to paint manufacturers who supplied the companies he worked with for decades.

Talc has the ability to absorb moisture, odor and oils, it serves as a lubricant, and it has an astringent effect on human skin. Not only do these unique properties make it an important ingredient in many baby powders, foot powders, first aid powders, and cosmetics, it is a valuable component in ceramics, paint, paper, roofing materials, plastics, rubber, insecticides, and many other products similar products. Unfortunately, in its natural form, some talc contains asbestos. It is up to the companies selling it to ensure that their talc is asbestos-free before leaving the facility.

The jury agreed with the plaintiffs in this case, finding that the defendants marketed, sold, and distributed their talc for more than 50 years to the paint, ceramics, and cosmetics industries, but never disclosed that it contained asbestos. Based on this and evidence presented by the plaintiff’s doctors showing that the same ingredients comprising the defendants asbestos-containing talc was found in the plaintiffs lungs, the jury found the defendants liable, having acted with “malice, oppression, and fraud.” They were ordered to pay $17.5 million in compensatory damages to the plaintiff’s family, and $4.6 million in punitive damages.

 This was the first verdict of its kind in California.

If you have been exposed to asbestos, see your doctor right away. Although there is no cure for mesothelioma, early detection could lead to better outcomes.

 

Sources

"Calif. Jury Awards $22.17 Million at Conclusion of Asbestos Talc Trial Against. . ." HarrisMartin Publishing. HarrisMartin Publishing, 13 Dec. 2017. Web. 12 Jan. 2018.

"Talc: The Softest Mineral." Geology.com. Geology.com, 2005-2018. Web. 08 Jan. 2018.

"Talcum Powder and Cancer." American Cancer Society. American Cancer Society, Inc., 2018. Web. 08 Jan. 2018.

"Two U.S. Mineral Companies Assessed $22 Million in Wrongful Death Case Involving Undisclosed Asbestos in Talc Powder." PR Newswire. Cision Ltd., 20 Dec. 2017. Web. 08 Jan. 2018.