Bloomberg Law
Sept. 4, 2015, 9:39 PM

BASF Faces Huge Potential Liability Years After Deal

When BASF SE acquired Engelhard Corp. nine years ago for $5 billion, executives unknowingly inherited a ticking legal time bomb.

It all began decades ago over the seemingly mundane industrial product talc, used in everything from wallboards to handling auto tires on the factory line.

In 1983, Engelhard quietly settled a suit after its officials testified in depositions that talc produced by a company mine contained cancer-causing asbestos. All evidence was sealed and Engelhard and its law firm repeatedly said in subsequent suits spanning more than two decades that the company’s talc was asbestos-free (Westfall v. Whittaker, Clark & Daniels, D.R.I., 79-CV-269

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