Last year, a St. Louis city jury sent shock waves across the world, awarding 22 plaintiffs nearly $5 billion in compensatory and punitive damages in a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson over claims its asbestos-contaminated talcum powder caused ovarian cancer in women who used the company’s product for years in the case of Ingham v. Johnson & Johnson, No. 1522-CC10417 (Mo. Cir. Ct. St. Louis City July 12, 2018). Prior to trial, Imerys Talc America Inc., a co-defendant supplier of talc to Johnson & Johnson, settled plaintiffs’ claims for at least $5 million.[1]

While previous ovarian cancer trials hinged on arguments that talc itself is carcinogenic, plaintiffs in Ingham argued their cancer was caused by asbestos particles mixed in with the talc. The impact of this verdict and similar previous decisions across the country has been damaging enough to prompt talc supplier Imerys Talc America Inc., to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, citing a lack of financial clout to defend lawsuits alleging that Imerys’ talc caused ovarian cancer or asbestos-related mesothelioma.[2]
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On September 13, 2018, the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed its first ever Statement of Interest in the bankruptcy of an asbestos company, signaling that DOJ intends to prioritize fraud and mismanagement relating to asbestos trusts. The Statement, filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of North Carolina in the Chapter 11 proceedings for Kaiser Gypsum Company, asserts that the proposed trust plans lack adequate safeguards and indicates that DOJ will object unless the final plan better ensures transparency and prevents fraud. Below are three major takeaways from DOJ’s action:

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bankruptcy Non-vessel operating common carriers (NVOCCs) are often vulnerable to importer/exporter debtors when they declare bankruptcy. As brick and mortar retailers continue to face dwindling market share due to the dramatic rise in online shopping – $1.25 billion per day in online consumer purchases in the U.S., and doubling every five years – risks to NVOCCs rise. Retail Dive’s running list of 2017 retail apocalypse victims is a comprehensive tally of retailers who have succumbed to financial pressures already this year. They also recently listed twelve additional prominent retailers possibly on the brink of bankruptcy.
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cargo ship containersOn August 31, 2016, Hanjin Shipping Co. filed for bankruptcy protection in South Korea. Two days later, Hanjin filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey for Chapter 15, which provides a mechanism in the U.S. for resolving problems that arise in cross-border bankruptcies. Three out of four U.S. shippers reportedly have

Product Liability Monitor

August 9, 2016
New Developments
GM’s Ignition Switch Litigation Woes Continue
By Shannon Peters

“Just when I thought I was out…they pull me back in.” That must be what GM’s executives (and counsel) were thinking when the Second Circuit handed down its recent decision overturning portions of the 2015 Bankruptcy Court decision that could have