Frequently Asked Questions
You, someone in your family, or a deceased person for whom you were a personal representative may have been a party in an asbestos injury or wrongful death lawsuit filed between March 8, 1984 and March 29, 2011, that named Engelhard Corporation or BASF Catalysts, LLC or one of their subsidiary or affiliated companies as a defendant, which lawsuit was voluntarily or involuntarily dismissed. During this period of time, numerous lawsuits were filed against Engelhard/BASF alleging that asbestos injuries caused by exposure to Emtal Talc, the brand name of talc produced by Engelhard/BASF's subsidiaries. After the lawsuits were dismissed or resolved, a dispute developed about whether information concerning the existence of asbestos in Emtal Talc was concealed or misrepresented by Engelhard/BASF and its national defense coordination law firm, Cahill, Gordon & Reindel, which may have led to the unfair dismissal of the asbestos lawsuits. The dismissals of these lawsuits as to Engelhard/BASF are presently the subject of a proposed class action lawsuit pending in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. The case is known as Williams, et al v BASF Catalysts, LLC, et. al, C.A. No. 2:11-cv-01754.
The Court sent you this Notice because you have a right to know about a proposed settlement of a class action lawsuit and about your options. If the Court approves the Settlement and after any objections and appeals are resolved, an Administrator appointed by the Court will make the payments that the Settlement allows. You may be eligible for payment.
This is a federal court class action pending in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey since 2011. The Plaintiffs contend that the Defendants named in the lawsuit misled the attorneys representing them or their respective deceased family members in Underlying Lawsuits against Engelhard/BASF about the existence of asbestos in Emtal Talc to support Engelhard/BASF’s defense that Emtal Talc did not contain asbestos. Plaintiffs contend these actions led to unfair settlements and/or dismissals of their or their deceased relatives’ Underlying Lawsuits as to Engelhard/BASF, as well as to unfair settlements and dismissals of other asbestos claimants’ lawsuits against Engelhard/BASF similar to theirs.
“Emtal Talc,” was a brand of industrial talc sold by a subsidiary of Engelhard that was used in the manufacturing of various industrial products, such as tires and other rubber goods, paints, plaster, caulking, and auto-body repair compounds. This lawsuit does not involve exposure to any personal cosmetic product such as baby, body or talcum powder.
Engelhard was a chemical company that closed its talc mine in 1984. The Emtal Talc business was a small business within Engelhard, itself a large mining and minerals trading company. BASF bought Engelhard in June 2006.
In a class action, one or more persons, the named plaintiffs (who are also called proposed “class representatives”) sue on behalf of themselves and other persons with similar claims. All of these people together are the proposed “Class” or “Class Members.” When a class action is settled, one Court resolves the issues for all Class Members (in the settlement context, “Settlement Class Members”), except for those who exclude themselves (opt out) from the Settlement. U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph A. Dickson is in charge of this class action. In this case, the proposed class representatives are Kimberlee Williams, Gayle Williams, Marilyn L. Holley, Sheila Ware, Donnette Wengerd, and Rosanne Chernick, who are heirs to the persons who originally sued Engelhard in the Underlying Lawsuits. Excluding yourself (opting out) means that you will not receive any benefits from the Settlement.
The precise number of Class Members is not known because many years have past since the lawsuits were filed and some records have been lost or damaged. Verus LLC, the Settlement Administrator that is advising Class Counsel, has estimated that there are 18,721 potential class members. This estimated number includes both the individuals who were the persons in the Underlying Lawsuits claiming to have suffered an asbestos-related personal injury or death (“Injured Persons”) as well as persons who sued Engelhard/BASF derivatively based upon the Injured Person’s asbestos-related personal injury or death, such as a spouse or the children or personal representative a deceased Injured Person (these are defined as “Derivative Claimants”). Verus estimates the number of class members who are Injured Persons is in the range of 7,500 to 8,500 persons.
For settlement purposes the Court has defined the Class in this case to consist of the following:
All Persons within the United States and its territories who, after March 7, 1984 and before March 30, 2011 filed and served a lawsuit against Engelhard/BASF seeking asbestos bodily injury or other relief arising from its Emtal Talc products, and who before March 30, 2011 either:
(A) had voluntarily dismissed or terminated the lawsuit as to Engelhard/BASF either before or after the suit was filed, including any voluntary dismissal or release of claims due to settlement; or
(B) had their lawsuit as to Engelhard/BASF involuntarily dismissed.
The date on which a voluntary dismissal or termination occurred for purposes of determining class membership is the earlier of either (i) the date on which the agreement or consent by the plaintiff or his/her counsel to dismiss or terminate the lawsuit occurred; or (ii) the date on which the dismissal or termination of the lawsuit was entered by or in the court in which it was pending.
If you are not sure whether you are included in the Settlement Class, you can obtain information or assistance in a number of ways.
- You may contact the attorneys who represented you or your family member in the Underlying Lawsuit and see if they can assist you. Where the Settlement’s Administrator has information that a lawyer or law firm which filed Emtal Talc asbestos suits is still in practice or has a known and confirmed successor, the Administrator has taken steps to notify them of this class action lawsuit and proposed Settlement.
- You can submit a request in the Williams Emtal Talc Lucid Portal for the Settlement Administrator to search a set of Underlying Lawsuit documents provided by the Defendants during discovery in the class action to determine if a possible match exists. If there is a match, the Administrator will provide the person requesting assistance with access to documents supporting the person’s claim to class membership.
- You can contact Verus LLC free of charge with questions or for more information by calling 1-888-401-1929 and asking for help regarding the Emtal Talc Settlement. You may also write with questions to Emtal Talc Settlement c/o Verus LLC, 3967 Princeton Pike, Princeton, NJ 08540 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- You may also file a claim online or by mail. The claim submission will be reviewed to determine whether it qualifies for compensation.
You are not required to hire your own lawyer. You do have the right to hire your own lawyer to represent you in this class action or in making your individual claim to the Settlement Fund for monetary payments. If you do hire a lawyer, you will be responsible for paying the fee you agree upon with that lawyer.
There are attorneys, identified as Class Counsel, who are responsible for all of the common interests of the Class Members. Class Counsel attorneys can answer your general information questions but they will not give you advice on your specific claim or potential claim.
“Class Counsel,” listed below, represent all of the common interests of the Class Members. They are the lawyers who filed and prosecuted the lawsuit and negotiated the Settlement. You will not be charged any fee for the services provided by these lawyers.
To be clear, however, Class Counsel are not responsible for and will not represent you in your individual claim to the Settlement Fund for monetary payments.
You are not obligated to hire your own lawyer. However, if you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.
Christopher M. Placitella
Jared M. Placitella
Eric S. Pasternack
Cohen Placitella & Roth, P.C.
127 Maple Ave
Red Bank, NJ 07701
Stewart L. Cohen
Harry M. Roth
Robert L. Pratter
Cohen Placitella & Roth, P.C.
2001 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Defendants BASF and Cahill have agreed to create and fully fund a non-reversionary Settlement Fund of $72.5 million for use and benefit of Settlement Class Members which will be used for the payment of claims to Settlement Class Members pursuant to, and in accordance with a Plan of Distribution approved by the Court.
In addition to the Settlement Amount, these two Defendants have agreed to pay up to $3.5 million to cover the reasonable and necessary costs of designing, establishing and carrying out the Plan of Notice and the Plan of Administration. BASF and Cahill have further agreed for the benefit of the Settlement Class Members to pay Class Counsel’s attorneys’ fees as approved by Court up to $22.5 million together with reimbursement of Class Counsel’s litigation costs approved by the Court up to the sum of $1.2 million.
Defendants BASF and Cahill have additionally agreed as part of the Settlement that copies of the following Emtal Talc litigation materials are and will remain in the public domain:
(a) the Williams Action’s pleadings; (b) the Williams Action’s non-privileged depositions (including non-privileged exhibits); (c) non-privileged documents produced or subpoenaed during discovery in the Williams Action and (d) copies of the public non-privileged depositions (including non-privileged exhibits) taken in the New Jersey Superior Court Asbestos Program’s Sampson, Comandini, Fuschino, Paduano and Volk lawsuits. Such documents may be made available by Class Counsel or their designee to any person, except as limited by any operative sealing orders or confidentiality orders.
That will depend on several factors:
1. The number of claims submitted by Settlement Class Members.
2. The Disease Level for which the Underlying Lawsuit was filed.
3. If you qualify for the Base Compensation Payment (Part A) and can present sufficient evidence that you sustained an asbestos-related body injury, Part B will provide additional monetary compensation, based on the disease level.
4. Mesothelioma injury claimants may receive a discretionary additional payment from the Extraordinary Injury Fund (EIF).
Please see the Long Form Notice for hypothetical Part B payment share estimates based on potential numbers of approved claims.
If you do not exclude yourself (opt out), you give up your right to continue to litigate any claims related to this Settlement, or file new claims, in any court or in any proceeding at any time.
You must complete and submit a valid and timely Claim Submission to commence a claim. If you do not submit a valid Claim Submission Form by the deadline of January 15, 2021, you will not receive a payment.
Please see the Plan of Distribution for details regarding claim criteria and required documentation.
Claims may be submitted online or by mail.
Online: An online claim form is available in the Williams Emtal Talc Lucid Portal. When you start the claim, you will also create an account so you can receive notifications and follow the progress of your claim online. This is the simplest way to file a claim.
By Mail: You may download a paper claim form send the completed form by mail to
Emtal Talc Settlement c/o Verus LLC
3967 Princeton Pike
Princeton, NJ 08540.
Please follow the filing instructions carefully, fill out the form completely, and attach the required documentation before you send it in. All Claim Submissions must be postmarked no later than 11:59 P.M. January 15, 2021.
You may also contact an attorney to file the claim on your behalf. If you are already represented by an attorney, they can assist you with filing a claim. If a law firm represented you in your lawsuit, they may be able to help you with your claim filing.
Yes. The Court has set a deadline to file a claim of January 15, 2021. This deadline was extended to March 16, 2021. If you do not submit a valid Claim Form by the deadline, you will not receive a payment.
There are several steps that must be completed before claims can be paid. These may take a substantial amount of time to accomplish.
1. All claim submissions must be adjudicated (determined to be qualified or not qualified).
2. Any disputes or challenges regarding claim determinations must be resolved.
3. The Court must grant “final approval” of the Settlement.
4. Liens must be resolved before any individual claimant’s funds can be distributed to him or her.
Appeals may also cause delays. It is always uncertain whether these appeals can be resolved and resolving them can take time. Everyone who submits a claim will be kept informed of the progress of the Settlement through the Settlement website or other means as appropriate. Please be patient.
Yes. The Settlement’s Plan of Distribution procedures establishes a process for a Settlement Class Member to challenge or dispute the denial of a monetary award claim or the
amount of the monetary award to the Settlement Trustee who will adjudicate the dispute.
If you don’t want a payment from the Settlement, but you want to keep the right to sue or continue to sue BASF, Cahill or any of the other defendants in the Williams Action on your own about the legal and factual issues and claims in this case, then you must take steps to get out. This is called excluding yourself—or is sometimes referred to as opting out of the Settlement Class.
On or before December 16, 2020, you must mail a letter or other written document to the Administrator (Verus LLC) requesting exclusion from the Settlement Class. Your request must include:
• Your name, address, telephone number, Social Security or Tax Identifier Number and date of birth;
• A copy of your driver’s license, other government issued identification and if applicable to a deceased or incompetent person, documentation establishing authority to act such estate letters or power of attorney;
• A statement that “I wish to exclude myself from the Settlement Class in Williams v BASF Catalysts LLC, C.A. No. 2:11-cv-01754” (or substantially similar clear and unambiguous language); and
• Your signature by hand, and the date on which you signed it (even if represented by an attorney at law).
You must mail your exclusion (opt out) request to:
Emtal Talc Settlement
c/o Verus LLC
P.O. Box 3568
Princeton, NJ 08648
A husband and wife or entire family of heirs where applicable, can opt-out on one form provided all sign the form and provide the information and documents set out above.
Your request to exclude yourself (opt out) is not effective unless and until the District Court grants Final Approval and the order approving the Settlement becomes Final.
No. Your opt out confirmation must be written.
If you ask to be excluded (opt out), you will not get any settlement payment, and you cannot object to the Settlement. You will not be legally bound by anything that happens in this lawsuit. You may be able to sue (or continue to sue) BASF, Cahill and the other defendants named in the Williams Action in the future.
If I don't opt out, can I still sue BASF, Cahill and the other Released Parties for the same thing later?
No. Unless you exclude yourself, you give up any right to sue BASF, Cahill or any other Released Person as defined in the Settlement Agreement for the claims that this Settlement resolves. If you have a pending asbestos lawsuit, speak to your lawyer in that lawsuit immediately.
If you have a pending asbestos lawsuit, speak to your lawyer in that lawsuit immediately. You must exclude yourself from this Settlement Class to pursue or continue your own lawsuit against BASF, Cahill, the other Defendants in the Williams Action or any other Released Person concerning the labeling, marketing, composition, or advertising of Emtal Talc or the defense or resolution of asbestos injury claims relating to Emtal Talc. If you properly exclude yourself from the Settlement Class, you shall not be bound by any orders or judgments entered in the Williams Action relating to the Settlement. Remember, the exclusion (opt-out) deadline is December 16, 2020.
No. You will not get any money from the Settlement if you exclude yourself. If you exclude yourself from the Settlement, you are not eligible to submit a claim. You may, however, sue, continue to sue, or be part of a different lawsuit against BASF, Cahill or the other Released Parties in the Settlement.
Objecting is simply telling the Court that you don’t like something about the Settlement. You can object only if you stay in the Class.
Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you don’t want to be part of the Class. If you exclude yourself, you have no basis to object because the case no longer affects you.
If you receive notification of a deficiency in a claim that you have submitted, you will have 20 days from when the notification was sent to resolve it by providing new documents or information. Notifications will be sent to the address indicated on the claim form, or the address you provided when registering your account in the claim filing portal. If your claim was filed by a law firm, the notification will be sent to the contact designated by the law firm.
No documents will be accepted after the Claim Document Submission Deadline on February 19, 2021.
Yes. Where the Injured Person in an Underlying Lawsuit is deceased, or the Underlying Lawsuit asserted a survival or wrongful death claim on behalf of the estate of an Injured Person, the claim may then be submitted by the Injured Person’s personal representative, such as its executor or administrator.
Where the Injured Person is deceased and has no estate open, the spouse of the deceased Injured Person, if living, or if such spouse is deceased, then a child of the deceased Injured Person (acting with written unanimous consent of all other living children of the deceased Injured Person), may file a claim using the Alternate claim form. These claims are only eligible for Part A compensation.
What is the difference between the Standard Claim Form and the Alternate claim form? Which do I use?
Only use the Alternate Claim Form if you are filing on behalf of a deceased Injured Person with no estate open (no personal representative appointed). Alternate claims are only eligible for Part A compensation. If the claim is filed by a child of the Injured Person, please provide a Consent Form signed by all other heirs.
All other claimants should use the Standard Claim Form.
Part A: Provides Base Compensation Payments to Settlement Class Members who can establish that the claimant or claimant’s decedent during the Class Period filed and served an Underlying Lawsuit against Engelhard/BASF which credibly asserted in good faith an asbestos injury caused by alleged exposure to Emtal Talc and was dismissed during the Class Period.
Part B: Provides Supplemental Injury Payments to Settlement Class Members who satisfy Part A and can present sufficient evidence of an asbestos bodily injury sustained by them (or if applicable,their decedent). Part A requirements must also be met.
Part C: Program establishes an Extraordinary Injury Fund from which the Settlement Trustee may, in exceptional cases, make a discretionary supplemental compensation payment to mesothelioma injury claimants subject to eligibility guidelines and limitations.
The Extraordinary Injury Fund (Part C compensation program) is designated for mesothelioma claims that prove extraordinary and exceptional circumstances. Applications for Part C compensation must meet the following criteria:
(A) The Injured Person (or their estate where applicable) together with any Derivative Claimants associated with the Underlying Lawsuit received in the aggregate less than
$250,000 from all other potentially responsible asbestos defendant settlements, including any asbestos trust or other outside of litigation payments; and
(B) The Claimant has competent, meaningful and credible evidence establishing the Injured Person had significant exposure to Emtal Talc, either in raw form and/or in
the form of dust emitted from a product containing Emtal Talc as an ingredient, that was a substantial factor in causing the asbestos injury. This may be established by an
affidavit or sworn statement of the Claimant; by an affidavit or sworn statement of a co-worker or the affidavit or sworn statement of a family member in the case of a
deceased Injured Person (providing the Settlement Fund finds such evidence reasonably reliable); by depositions, photographs, interrogatories, invoices, shipping
records, employment, construction or similar records; or by other credible evidence; and
(C) The Claimant has competent, meaningful and credible evidence through one or more Qualified Physicians establishing the Injured Person’s exposure to Emtal Talc was a
substantial contributing factor to causing the mesothelioma; and
(D) The Claimant has competent, meaningful and credible evidence the Injured Person’s lawyer in the Underlying Litigation was the recipient of discovery, correspondence,
motion papers or affidavits served or sent to him or his law firm, by an attorney or agent of Engelhard/BASF that stated or represented in words or substance that Emtal
talc ore or products did not contain asbestos and/or there was no evidence it contained asbestos (including any representation or statement there were no depositions of
Engelhard/BASF personnel relating to asbestos in Emtal talc); and
(E) The Claimant is able to credibly establish extraordinary loss or injury circumstances that meaningfully distinguish Claimant’s situation and circumstances from the
general population of successful Part B claimants to the Settlement Fund warranting an equitable adjustment award.
A Derivative Claimant is a person, such as a spouse or the children or personal representative a deceased Injured Person, who sued Engelhard/BASF derivatively based upon the Injured Person’s asbestos-related personal injury or death.