Ex-J&J talc supplier considering new path as judge nixes bankruptcy plan votes

A bottle of Johnson and Johnson Baby Powder is seen in a photograph illustration taken

A bottle of Johnson and Johnson Baby Powder is seen in a photograph illustration taken in New York, February 24, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar

  • Group of personalized harm claims considered questionable by judge
  • Without votes, Imerys Talc will have to renew restructuring talks

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(Reuters) – The decide overseeing Imerys Talc The united states Inc’s bankruptcy on Wednesday removed a lot more than 15,000 private harm claimants’ votes on the former Johnson & Johnson talc supplier’s proposed Chapter 11 strategy, forcing the business to revisit its restructuring strategy.

U.S. Bankruptcy Decide Laurie Selber Silverstein issued a 36-site selection on J&J’s ask for to block changes to hundreds of votes on the plan. Imerys filed for personal bankruptcy in 2019 to deal with prevalent litigation alleging its talc triggered mesothelioma and ovarian most cancers and is pursuing a approach to compensate victims.

With the ruling from Silverstein, Imerys does not have the votes it requirements to safe a element of the program that effectively needs individual damage statements in a bankruptcy to be taken care of completely as a result of a rely on and block claimants from suing insurance policies carriers and other similar functions in the long run. The provision is a crucial facet of the strategy.

Imerys reported in a assertion on Wednesday that it is evaluating up coming techniques.

“While we are upset by the court’s ruling, we continue being dedicated to resolving our historic talc-linked liabilities in a just method for all involved functions,” the firm claimed.

Imerys will likely consider to operate with J&J, insurers and other opponents of the offer on an amended strategy.

J&J, which has also faced in depth litigation about its talc products and solutions and has denied wrongdoing, argues that Imerys is seeking to make it less complicated for most cancers victims to sue J&J in its place. J&J did not promptly reply to a ask for for remark.

In Wednesday’s selection, Silverstein turned down a ask for by a regulation agency that signifies private damage claimants to improve its 15,719 votes towards the prepare to take the program. Having said that, she also refused to allow the “no” votes stand, stating she would look at them withdrawn.

She took challenge with the technique in which the business, Bevan & Associates, collected and submitted the votes in the to start with location, which was carried out with out consulting person claimants. Attorney Thomas Bevan testified at a hearing in September that he submitted a master ballot on behalf of all of his customers and considered they experienced all “likely” been exposed to the company’s talc goods.

Silverstein mentioned it’s not apparent the Bevan purchasers even have valid statements in opposition to Imerys since the agency did not carry out owing diligence on no matter whether they’d been uncovered to the company’s talc.

“In other words, Bevan & Associates just printed out a list of its purchasers in excel spreadsheet format and slapped it behind a Learn Ballot,” the choose wrote.

Bevan referred to as the judge’s statements “fascinating” and explained he would fulfill the judge’s concerns with respect to potential votes in the Imerys scenario.

Imerys, the moment the U.S.-based mostly arm of French group Imerys SA, was sold to Magris Methods Canada Inc for $223 million in 2020. People proceeds will go to the belief that, underneath the company’s proposed system, will spend private harm claims.

J&J in recent months has explored a plan to offload liabilities from popular talc-associated litigation into a new small business that would then be put in individual bankruptcy, as noted by Reuters.

The situation is In re Imerys Talc The united states Inc., U.S. Individual bankruptcy Court docket, District of Delaware, No. 19-10289.

For Imerys: Jeffrey Bjork, Kimberly Posin, Helena Tseregounis and Richard Levy of Latham & Watkins and Mark Collins, Michael Merchant, Amanda Steele and Brett Haywood of Richards, Layton & Finger

For Johnson & Johnson: Diane Sullivan, Gary Holtzer, Ronit Berkovich and Ted Tsekerides of Weil, Gotshal & Manges and Patrick Jackson of Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath

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