For more information or confidential assistance
Call 800-306-3180

J&J Talc Powder Supplier Files for Bankruptcy Protection in Midst of Lawsuits

The talc powder supplier for Johnson & Johnson has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Imerys Talc America has been named as the co-defendant in thousands of product liability lawsuits that allege that talc powder caused ovarian cancer and lung cancer due to contamination with asbestos.

Filing a bankruptcy petition immediately puts a stay into effect that suspends all pending litigation and prevents creditors from seeking compensation. This latest development could mean that Johnson & Johnson will stand alone as it faces more than 14,000 talcum powder lawsuits.

Talc powder company going bankrupt

Imerys Talc America, Imerys Vermont, Inc., and Imerys Talc Canada, Inc. were the companies to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Delaware. Their parent company, Imerys SA (based in Paris) is not named as a bankruptcy petitioner.

Imerys issued a press release stating the following: “The Chapter 11 process will allow the filing companies the time and protection to negotiate a global agreement with creditors, primarily representatives of current and future claimants in cosmetic talc-related litigation, while defining a path forward for the impacted talc businesses.”

Chapter 11 allows for the establishment of a trust, which would address talc powder lawsuits that are currently pending and those that may still be filed in the future. It’s expected that Imerys will attempt to settle the pending cases in order to avoid any more forthcoming massive jury awards.

Talc powder jury awards

Several lawsuits have already gone to trial against Johnson & Johnson and Imerys. In May 2018, a trial held in California resulted in a $25.7 million jury award for a plaintiff. The previous month, a trial held in New Jersey resulted in a $117 million award for a plaintiff who was diagnosed with mesothelioma, an aggressive form of lung cancer strongly tied to asbestos exposure. During July of that year, a group of 22 plaintiffs diagnosed with ovarian cancer were awarded a massive $4.7 billion award by a Missouri jury.

The president of the Imerys subsidiaries, Giorgio La Motta, referred to the talc powder litigation in the company-issued press release. “After carefully evaluating all possible options, we determined that pursuing Chapter 11 protection is the best course of action to address our historic talc-related liabilities and position the filing companies for continued growth,” said La Motta.

Talc powder lawsuit allegations

Talc is a natural mineral mined from the earth. It’s frequently found alongside asbestos, which is how asbestos can sometimes contaminated the mined talc. For years, Johnson & Johnson has insisted that its talc powder products are free of asbestos and are safe for use. However, plaintiffs argue that not only is talcum powder unsafe, the defendants allegedly knew about the risks and failed to take appropriate action, such as by informing consumers of the potential risks.

The women who have filed lawsuits claim that they used talc powder for genital dusting for years after being reassured that it was safe for routine feminine hygiene. It’s thought that the lightweight particles can migrate into the body, where they may cause cancerous changes on tissues. Plaintiffs who have developed mesothelioma claim they developed this deadly form of cancer after inhaling talc powder particles.


Bloomberg, Imerys Talc Units File Bankruptcy as Cancer-Suit Risk Soars,

PR Newswire, Imerys Talc America and Related Companies File Voluntary Chapter 11 Petitions,