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Saturday, September 6, 2014

BASF Must Face Asbestos Coverup Fraud Claims, Court Says

The conspiracy of the asbestos industry to conceal information of the hazards of asbestos has been long alleged and has been a foundation of asbestos litigation. Asbestos is a known carcinogen and has been causally connected to: asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma, as well as a many ofter malignancies. The US 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals. The Appeals Court held:

"We conclude that the District Court erred when it dismissed 
the fraud and fraudulent concealment claims. The Amended 
Class Action Complaint properly alleges the elements of fraud 
and fraudulent concealment—namely that BASF and Cahill 
lied about and destroyed the asbestos evidence to plaintiffs’ 
detriment. Neither the New Jersey litigation privilege nor 
pleading requirements stand in the way of these claims."

Filed 09/03/14, No. 13-1089
Kimberlee Williams v. BASF Catalysts LLC
USDC for the District of New Jersey

Today's post is shared from

BASF SE (BAS), the world’s biggest chemical maker, was ordered to face claims it fraudulently hid evidence that its talc products contained asbestos as it sought to scuttle thousands of personal-injury lawsuits.

The U.S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia yesterday revived a suit alleging a unit of BASF, based in Ludwigshafen, Germany, and law firm Cahill, Gordon & Reindel LLP systematically concealed damaging evidence and manufactured documents to defeat claims that its talc contained cancer-causing asbestos. The unit mined talc, a mineral used in products ranging from wallboard to balloons.

The decision comes as BASF is predicting it will hit profit targets despite economic growth that’s falling short of forecasts, as well as unfavorable exchange rates. Chief Executive Officer Kurt Bock told Bloomberg TV in July that the chemical maker is emphasizing efficiency to compensate for markets he described as “volatile and challenging.”

BASF and other makers of building products are still grappling with asbestos litigation, which began in the 1970s and has turned into the longest-running mass tort in U.S. history. Companies and insurers have paid at least $70 billion to settle injury claims tied to asbestos-laden products, according to a 2005 study by the Rand Corp.

Joseph Jones, a BASF spokesman, said the court threw out some claims and left only a small portion of the case to proceed.

“BASF is evaluating its options to obtain further review of the court of appeals’ decision,” he said in an e-mailed statement.

John Villa, a lawyer for Cahill with Williams & Connolly LLP in Washington, said the firm intends to fight claims of wrongdoing in the BASF case.