Talc supplier Whittaker, Clark & Daniels filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on April 26, 2023, blaming a “deluge” of lawsuits claiming its talc products caused thousands to develop ovarian cancer and mesothelioma. Although the controversy surrounding Johnson & Johnson’s bankruptcy has largely overshadowed other companies mired in talcum powder litigation, Whittaker, Clark & Daniels faces more than 2,700 claims.
About the Whittaker, Clark & Daniels Bankruptcy
While Whittaker, Clark & Daniels is now defunct, it was once one of the United States’ largest talc and industrial compound supply and distribution businesses in the 1970s and 1980s. The company ended its operations in 2004, but that has not stopped individuals from filing claims against the company for its long-standing involvement in talc distribution and products, spanning several decades.
Lawsuits claim the company’s talc products contained asbestos, a known human carcinogen. The company has resorted to bankruptcy, given previous multi-million-dollar settlements and expensive legal fees draining the company of its already limited assets. With over 2,700 lawsuits against the company pending, Whittaker, Clark & Daniels reported that it spends $1 million a month on legal defense.
Previous Verdicts Leading to Whittaker, Clark & Daniels Bankruptcy
The talc supplier has lost millions in previous talcum powder verdicts.
Whittaker, Clark & Daniels lost a trial in 2016, resulting in an $18.07 million verdict. Following this verdict, a New York jury ordered Whittaker, Clark & Daniels to pay $16.5 million in 2017 to a woman who alleged the company’s Desert Flower Dusting Powder was responsible for her mesothelioma. Most recently, in 2023, a South Carolina jury found Whittaker, Clark & Daniels liable for a woman’s mesothelioma diagnosis, ordering the talc supplier to pay $29.14 million. This most recent verdict pushed Whittaker, Clark & Daniels to the edge, forcing the company to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
The Whittaker, Clark, & Daniels bankruptcy is the latest in a long line of companies that have sought a similar path to resolve talc liabilities. Talc mining companies Cyprus Mines Corporation and Imerys Talc America filed for bankruptcy in recent years, and, of course, most notably, Johnson & Johnson is fighting to resolve talcum powder lawsuits through the bankruptcy process.