A Win for Asbestos Victims

by Sokolove Law

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has revived a fraud case against BASF, one of the largest chemical manufacturing companies in the world and its longtime law firm, Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP.

A recent article in The Wall Street Journal reporting on the case states: “A group of plaintiffs — representatives of alleged asbestos victims — claimed that BASF and Cahill systematically collected and destroyed or hid evidence of asbestos-containing products produced by a BASF predecessor, Engelhard, in order to evade liability and forge quick settlements.”

This recent suit accuses the company of lying about the toxic material in its products. According to the plaintiffs, Englehard had complete knowledge that the material it was manufacturing could kill people and that the company’s representatives intentionally destroyed the evidence and deprived victims of full legal justice.

For years, BASF denied the existence of asbestos in products produced by Engelhard, a company it purchased in 2006. Engelhard mined talc that was used in everyday items, such as children’s balloons and wallboard. Engelhard even went so far as to advertise its talc as “a viable asbestos substitute,” despite the fact that lab results definitively showed the presence of asbestos.

After an asbestos injury lawsuit brought against it in 1979, which ended in a settlement to the plaintiff, Englehard and its attorneys allegedly destroyed all evidence related to the asbestos-containing talc products, according to the complaint against the company.

Deceased Daughter Finally to Get Her Day in Court

New documents related to the case surfaced when lawyers were pointed to the lawsuit of a grieving father, a former research chemist for BASF, whose daughter, Donna Paduano, passed away from mesothelioma. While the records do not state how Donna developed mesothelioma, given her father’s connection with the company, it is possible that she may have come in contact with the deadly asbestos fibers through secondhand exposure. Her father’s testimony revealed crucial evidence about the company’s analyses, data, and reports related to asbestos contamination — evidence that until recently had been missing. Documents that had allegedly been hidden in a Cahill Gordon & Reindel storage facility were uncovered and prompted the revival of the class action.

It is tragic that a woman had to die in order to finally bring BASF and its attorneys to trial for potential fraud. However, there is some small comfort in knowing that victims and committed asbestos attorneys continue to hold companies accountable for their actions — even years afterward.

If you or someone you love has been exposed to asbestos or developed an asbestos-related disease such as mesothelioma, lung cancer, or asbestosis, you have legal rights. Contact the asbestos attorneys at Sokolove Law to find out if you have a case and whether you and your family may be entitled to compensation.