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Imerys Talc files adversary suit related to insurance proceeds

Posted On: Mar. 8, 2019 12:33 PM CST


Imerys Talc America Inc., a talc supplier for bankrupt Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder, on Wednesday filed an adversary suit asking the Delaware bankruptcy court to bar two affiliated companies from accessing hundreds of millions of dollars in insurance funds.

In the complaint, Imerys Talc America, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Feb. 13 amid mounting lawsuits claiming its talc products cause cancer, said it was seeking to protect its rights to the proceeds of insurance policies from attempts by Cyprus Amax Minerals Co. and Cyprus Mines Corp “to access and deplete such proceeds.”

The relevant insurance policies include “numerous primary, excess and umbrella comprehensive general liability policies issued, or otherwise providing coverage to Cyprus Mines Corp. and/or its affiliates or predecessors between 1961 and 1986,” the complaint said.

The insurance proceeds it is seeking to protect are related to claims or causes of action against the insurers related to liabilities prior to 1992, Imerys Talc America said in the complaint.

On June 5, 1992, Cyprus Mines Corp. agreed to a transfer of assets to Cyprus Talc Corp., currently known as Imerys Talc America, according to the complaint.

In this exchange, Imerys Talc agreed to assume all liabilities or obligations, and as a result “currently owns all rights to the proceeds of the insurance policies,” the complaint said.

Imerys Talc requested the court issue a preliminary injunction to prevent Cyprus Amax Minerals and Cyprus Mines from taking any action to access the proceeds of the policies.

Imerys Talc Vermont and Imerys Talc Canada Inc. also filed for Chapter 11 protection in February and along with Imerys Talc America listed combined assets of as much as $500 million and liabilities of $100 million, according to the Feb. 13 bankruptcy filing.

Calls to lawyers representing Imerys were not immediately returned.