Former Talc Supplier Whittaker, Clark & Daniels Files for Bankruptcy

Legislation & Litigation

Whittaker, Clark & Daniels, a defunct talc supplier, is filing for Chapter 11 protection after a recent $29 million verdict in South Carolina and hundreds of lawsuits filed against the company. 

The lawsuits claim the company’s products are contaminated with asbestos, which caused plaintiffs to develop mesothelioma and other asbestos-related conditions.

Reports show a Richland County, South Carolina, jury in March 2023 found Whittaker, Clark & Daniels liable for the plaintiff’s mesothelioma, a rare cancer caused by asbestos exposure. The plaintiff was identified as Sarah Plant.

Asbestos and talc naturally form together. Because these minerals are similar in composition and develop in close proximity, talc deposits are commonly contaminated with asbestos and asbestos-like fibers.

History of Lawsuits Against Whittaker, Clark & Daniels

So far, more than 2,700 people have filed asbestos lawsuits against Whittaker, Clark & Daniels. Some of the multimillion-dollar settlements stem from consumers who used an Old Spice talcum powder and a popular scented talcum powder for many years.

A New York jury in 2017 ordered Whittaker, Clark & Daniels to pay a peritoneal mesothelioma patient $16.5 million. She claimed the company’s Desert Flower Dusting Powder caused her asbestos-related condition.

The company also settled a mesothelioma talc lawsuit for an undisclosed amount in 2017. That plaintiff claimed the Cashmere Bouquet talcum powder she used for more than 20 years caused her mesothelioma.

According to a recent court filing, Whittaker, Clark & Daniels had been spending a million dollars a month for legal defense.

Whittaker, Clark & Daniels was one of the largest talc and industrial chemical businesses in the U.S. in the 1970s and 1980s. The company closed in 2004 and sold its equity to the Berkshire Hathaway-affiliated National Indemnity Company and Ringwalt & Liesche in 2007. 

Other Talc-Product Companies Facing Lawsuits, Settlements

Talcum powder contaminated with asbestos has been linked to several cases of mesothelioma and ovarian cancer.

Johnson & Johnson is still working to resolve its liabilities concerning talc through the bankruptcy of a subsidiary company. In early April 2023, Johnson & Johnson announced it would pay $8.9 billion to settle talcum powder lawsuits alleging the drugmaker’s talc products caused cancer.

The company’s announcement came after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit denied Johnson & Johnson’s request to postpone its bankruptcy decision for its subsidiary.

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