Johnson & Johnson's talc supplier inks 11th-hour settlement in California mesothelioma case: report

J&J's talc supplier Imerys inked a last-minute deal in a mesothelioma case in California, according to Bloomberg. (Pixabay)

Johnson & Johnson and its talc supplier Imerys have been on the losing side of costly jury decisions, and after weeks of testimony in a Los Angeles case, Imerys has decided to settle. 

Right before the case went to the jury, Imerys struck a deal to settle its portion of the talc lawsuit, Bloomberg reports. J&J asked the court to grant a mistrial in response, but the judge allowed the trial to proceed, according to the news service. The court didn’t disclose the size of Imerys’ settlement. 

In her lawsuit, 59-year-old school counselor Carolyn Weirick argued that J&J and Imerys supplied talc that contained asbestos that caused her mesothelioma, according to reports. She said she routinely used talc for more than 40 years. 

The Imerys deal comes after a jury in St. Louis ordered J&J to pony up a staggering $4.69 billion in damages after a trial that consolidated the claims of 22 women and their families. J&J has said the award was improper and has pledged to appeal. 

RELATED: High-stakes talc trial ends in whopping $4.7B verdict for Johnson & Johnson 

Before that, in April, a New Jersey jury ordered J&J and Imerys to pay $117 million over a retired banker’s mesothelioma claims. Imerys’ portion of the verdict was about $36 million. And in May, jurors in Los Angeles ordered J&J and other companies to pay $25.75 million in yet another mesothelioma case. The companies have pledged to appeal. 

After the $36 million result against Imerys, the company said in a statement that while it “deeply sympathizes with those affected by all forms of cancer, this decision is inconsistent with a great deal of science establishing the safety of talc, including a recently published study of workers who mined and milled talc.” The company said it would appeal the result. 

Imerys further said it follows FDA and other regulatory guidelines and “utilizes rigorous testing to ensure that Imerys talc meets the highest quality standards.” Imerys pledged to “continue to vigorously defend itself against such possible claims in the future.” 

RELATED: Asbestos case against Johnson & Johnson, Imerys climbs to $117M in damages 

In all, J&J faced about 10,600 talc cases as of its most recent quarterly filing. The drugmaker noted that it has both won and lost certain cases, and for the cases it has lost, J&J “believes that it has strong grounds on appeal to overturn these verdicts.”