Office of Plaintiffs' Liaison Counsel
Information for Women Injured by Breast Implants
Silicone Gel Breast Implant Products Liability Litigation
The Office of Plaintiffs' Liaison Counsel, also called the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee Office, was originally created by the United States District Court overseeing the breast implant class action ("MDL 926") in order to help women litigate their claims arising from injuries due to breast implants. Today, if you have a claim and are trying to participate in the Revised Settlement Program, MDL-926, and/or the Dow Corning Settlement, please feel free to contact us with any questions that you have about these programs. Also, if you are a plaintiff or a plaintiff's attorney engaged in litigation against a breast implant manufacturer, assistance is available from this office. Also, continue to check this website and the related websites linked below for important updates.
APRIL 11, 2014-MORE ON PARTIAL PREMIUM PAYMENTSThe Claimants Advisory Committee ("CAC") states that the first group of award letters to claimants qualifying for a Partial Premium Payment was mailed this week. The CAC has assembled a helpful list of Questions and Answers regarding the protocol for these mailings in a Newsletter distributed today: http://www.tortcomm.org/newsletter_140410.shtml. This series also covers some of the same issues dealt with in the April 9, 2014 entry directly below.
April 9, 2014-PARTIAL PREMIUM PAYMENTS TO BE ISSUED IN 2014
The Court of Appeals has denied Dow Corning’s request to stop premium payment checks from being issued while Dow argues that Judge Hood’s decision to approve partial premium payments should be overturned. This means that Dow Corning claimants who have already been awarded benefits for a disease or a rupture claim should receive a check in 2014 for 50% of the premium payment due them. The Settlement Facility will first send an award letter to each eligible claimant. At this time, it is believed that the premium payment check will follow approximately two weeks later. Because of the number of women due payments, this process will be done on a rolling basis that is currently expected to take 6 months. If you are an eligible claimant, the Claimants Advisory Committee advises you to be patient, and not to be alarmed if you hear of another claimant receiving her award letter and check when you have not. A copy of the Court of Appeals’ Order is at the Claimants’ Advisory Committee website, www.tortcomm.org, under “Court Orders,” at the entry for March 31, 2014.
How Much Money Can I Expect to Receive This Year?
The award letter you will receive in the mail should inform you of your check amount. Premium payments are 20% of the Base Award for a given disease at severity/disability level A, B, or C. If you received a Disease Benefit Award, go to www.tortcomm.org, click on “SF-DCT Forms and Information Guides,” found in the list on the left side of the page, and open ‘CLAIMANT INFORMATION GUIDE’. This document presents the premium payment figures on page 6. If you are in Disease Option 1, you will need to remember your severity/disability Level. If you are in Disease Option 2, you will need to remember both your approved disease and your severity/disability Level. Your 2014 payment will be 50% of the premium payment amount.
I Had Both Bristol and Dow Corning Implants, So My Disease Awards Were Cut in Half in Both the MDL Settlement and the Dow Corning Settlement. Can I Still Expect to Receive a Partial Premium Payment Check?
You are subject to what is called the “Multiple Manufacturer Reduction.” You will still receive a premium check, but it will be 25% of the total premium payment amounts shown in the Class 5 Claimant Information Guide (see preceding answer). This reflects a 50% reduction of the total Premium Payment for having a Bristol, Baxter or 3M implant in addition to your Dow implant(s), followed by a further 50% reduction because the payments to go out this year will be partial.
For example, a claimant approved for Atypical Connective Tissue Disease, Level B, received $10,000 in the MDL 926 Revised Settlement Program, and $10,000 from the Dow Corning Settlement. Because her award was reduced by 50% in the Dow Corning Settlement, her total premium payment is also reduced by 50%, from $4,000 to $2,000. Because the Court has approved a partial distribution of 50% of premium payments, she would receive a check for $1,000.
I Had Both Bristol and Dow Corning Implants, But I Received $20,000 in Rupture Benefits Because I Submitted Proof that One of My Dow Corning Implants Ruptured. How Much Can I Expect to Receive This Year?
A claimant who had Bristol, Baxter or 3M implants in addition to her Dow Corning implants received the full Rupture Payment in the Dow Corning Settlement of $20,000 because the device that ruptured was manufactured by Dow Corning. These claimants likewise qualify for the full Premium Payment of $5,000 for the Rupture benefit, so the partial payment this year will be $2,500.
My Attorney took Money out of My Earlier Award Check for Fees and Out-of-Pocket Expenses. Can He Also Deduct Money from the Premium Payment Check?
Yes-If the attorney did additional work representing you in the settlement after you received your initial award check.
If you have other questions about Partial Premium Payments, you can call the Office of Plaintiffs’ Liaison Counsel at the above numbers.
September 24, 2013-THE JUNE 2, 2014 DOW CORNING IMPLANT REMOVAL BENEFIT DEADLINE
If you are registered in the Dow Corning Settlement as a Class 5 or Class 6.1 claimant, and had your Dow Corning breast implant (whether silicone gel, saline, or double lumen) removed after December 31, 1990, you have until Monday, June 2, 2014, to apply for the $5,000 Explantation Benefit Payment.
Women who have their Dow Corning breast implants removed and thereafter receive other silicone gel-filled breast implants are disqualified from receiving the Explantation Payment.
If you have not already had your breast implants removed, they must be explanted before the June 2, 2014 deadline. It can take several months for an examination and the removal operation to be scheduled with a cooperative surgeon. Obtaining copies of the operative report and other needed documents can also take weeks.
“I HAVE DOW CORNING IMPLANTS THAT HAVE BEEN OR NEED TO BE REMOVED, WHERE DO I GET MORE INFORMATION?”
If you have questions about either the claim application process or the Explant Payment requirements, contact this office at 1-855-355-3799.
Explant Payment Claim Forms
Claim Forms are available online for download at:
Claim forms can also be obtained from this office, or:
Claimants’ Assistance Program
THE MDL 926 REVISED SETTLEMENT PROGRAM EXPIRES DECEMBER 15, 2010
NO NEW CLAIMS WILL BE ACCEPTED AFTER THE DECEMBER 15, 2010 DEADLINE. All claims must be postmarked with the U.S. Postal Service as first class mail or submitted to a private mail carrier that provides at least as rapid delivery as first class mail (“postmarked”) by December 15, 2010 to: MDL Claims Office, P.O. Box 56666, Houston, TX 77256. (Telephone 1-800-600-0311).
If you are a claimant in the Revised Settlement Program (“RSP”) and receive a deficiency letter before December 15, 2009, any medical records and other documents you send to the Claims Office to cure the deficiency must be post-marked no later than December 15, 2010.
If you are a claimant in the RSP and receive a deficiency letter on or after December 15, 2009, any medical records and other documents you send to the Claims Office to cure the deficiency must be post-marked no later than one (1) year from the date of the deficiency letter.
For all other questions concerning the END of the Revised Settlement Program, call the OPLC at one of the above telephone numbers.
RSP Claims Help
Important Dates, Deadlines and Recent Developments
October 20, 2008
Attorneys Willing to Consult with RSP Claimants
The attached list (updated August 30, 2010) contains names of attorneys and law firms in 48 states and the District of Columbia who have recently informed the Office of Plaintiffs’ Liaison Counsel that they are willing to assist claimants with breast implant claims in the MDL 926 Revised Settlement Program. Be sure to carefully read the disclaimer in italics at the top of this list, as the OPLC does not endorse or recommend any attorney.
This list will be updated on a regular basis, so if you do not find any attorneys in your immediate area, you should check back periodically to see if any have been added. Also, be aware that some attorneys are willing to assist claimants from all over the United States, not just in their communities. If you have any questions about this or other aspects of the list, along with comments, please call Jeff Condra at 1-888-470-3799.
August 25, 2008-If you are a claimant in the MDL-926 Revised Settlement Program, you may find this introductory letter from The Honorable U.W. Clemon, the United District Judge overseeing the settlement, useful for introducing your physician to the settlement claims process. In this letter, Judge Clemon explains to doctors what the RSP is about; and what they can do to assist claimants. This letter may be given by claimants to their physicians.
March 28, 2008 -- NEW HELP FOR CLAIMANTS WHO NEED TO IDENTIFY THE MANUFACTURER OF THEIR IMPLANTS
December 19, 2007-- Last week, Judge Hood signed an Agreed Order Allowing Certain Late Claimants Limited Rights to Participate in the Plan's Settlement Facility. If you did not file a timely Proof of Claim or Notice of Intent in the Dow Corning bankruptcy, but sent a written request to participate in the Dow Corning settlement no later than June 1 of this year, this order may apply to you. It establishes the terms and the important deadlines for applying for settlement benefits. If you have any questions about this order, or want to know if it affects your status, you may call this office at the above number.
December 12, 2007-- Today Judge Hood signed Case Management Order No. 6, which outlines the procedure by which parties can seek certification of Opt-Out cases in the Dow Corning Litigation Facility for trial.
Judge Hood also signed an order permitting Dow Corning to destroy most of its stock of breast implants that were in production when manufacturing ceased in 1992.
October 18, 2007 -- If you are trying to participate in the Dow Corning Settlement based on a Notice of Intent that was filed by you or on your behalf before August 30, 2004, you may receive in the mail a copy of the recent Consent Order signed by Judge Hood that applies to "Non-matching NOI claimants." If you have questions about this document, you may contact this office at the above telephone number.
July 24, 2007 --
Change of Address and/or Contact Information Form for claimants in the Revised Settlement Program, MDL 926
May 5, 2006 --
Important Information from the Claimants' Advisory Committee:
REMINDER: JUNE 1, 2006 DEADLINE FOR RUPTURE, CLASS 7 AND CLASS 9, 10.1 AND 10.2 CLAIMANTS
If you mail your claim form and supporting medical records by a delivery service such as Federal Express, UPS, DHL, etc., or by U.S. certified or registered mail, then the letter can be postmarked or dated on or before June 1, 2006. This means that you can mail your forms on June 1, 2006 as long as you use one of these services. You cannot mail it on June 1, 2006 if you use regular U.S. mail.
If you mail your claim form and supporting medical records by regular U.S. mail or by using a national mail service in the country in which you reside, then the claim forms must be received by the SF-DCT in Houston, Texas by June 1, 2006 at 5 p.m. Central Time. Because no one can control the delivery of the U.S. mail, you may want to consider using an overnight delivery service as noted above.
IF YOUR DOW CORNING BREAST IMPLANTS ARE REMOVED AFTER MARCH 3, 2006 AND BEFORE MAY 31, 2006, YOU HAVE AN ADDITIONAL 30 DAYS TO SUBMIT YOUR RUPTURE CLAIM FORM AND MEDICAL RECORDS.
If your Dow Corning implants were removed anytime on or after March 3, 2006 through May 31, 2006, then you have an additional 30 days after the June 1, 2006 deadline to submit your Rupture claim form and supporting documents. In other words - and only if your implants were removed during this narrow time frame -- you have until July 5, 2006 to submit your Rupture Claim Form.
RUPTURE DEADLINE ISSUES
Rupture benefits are available to women who've had their Dow Corning silicone gel breast implant removed and the lumen containing the silicone gel has torn or has some other opening. Rupture benefits are not available for the rupture of a breast implant that is either saline only or is made by a company other than Dow Corning.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR DOW CORNING BREAST IMPLANTS HAVE NOT BEEN REMOVED YET
Contact the Explant Assistance Program at the Settlement Facility and inform them that you want to have your Dow Corning breast implants removed and are having difficulty locating a doctor to do the surgery who will do the surgery by June 1, 2006. You might also consider submitting the Rupture Claim Form by the June 1, 2006 deadline and write on it that you want to be explanted through the Explant Assistance Program but cannot locate a doctor who will do the surgery. The Claims Administrator has indicated that if you do this, he will accept Rupture claim submissions even though the implant has not been removed by June 1, 2006. You must, of course, have the implants removed and the supporting records submitted within a reasonable time thereafter.
If you have a claim for rupture, you must submit it now! If you find out that your implants are ruptured after June 1, 2006, you will not be eligible for rupture benefits. This is your last and final opportunity to apply for the Rupture compensation!
If you have a serious, chronic medical condition that prevents you from having the explant surgery, you may qualify for the "Medically Contraindicated Exception" for Rupture. Read Question 6 on the Rupture Claim Form and Section 7 in the Claimant Information Guide for more information.
November 8, 2005-- Procedures for the Resolution of Asserted Lien Claims Against MDL 926 Revised Settlement Program ("RSP") Claimants. Click here to view.
August 9, 2005--Claimants' Advisory Committee Negotiates a New Product Identification for all Pre-1971 Silicone Breast Implants. If you received your implants before 1971 and have had trouble establishing your Proof of Manufacture with the Dow Corning Settlement Facility because your existing medical records do not refer to Dow Corning, a new order signed by Judge Hood may help you get acceptable Proof of Manufacture:
If you are in this situation, you may call this office at the above telephone number to determine whether this order may help you establish your claim.
July 25, 2005
Updated May 20, 2005ľUPCOMING JUNE 3, 2005 MDL 926 CONFERENCE
This is to advise plaintiffs' lawyers that the Honorable U.W. Clemon, presiding judge over MDL-926, will conduct an informal status conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, on Friday, June 3, 2005. Jean Eliason, current Claims Administrator of the Revised Settlement Program will also be present. The purpose of this meeting is to deal with MDL-926 claims administration issues and afford an opportunity for plaintiffs and defendants representatives to participate in the discussion. This invitation extends to plaintiffs' representatives with RSP clients who also have claims in the Dow Corning Plan.
The conference will be held at the International House Hotel, 221 Camp Street (This is just over a block south off of Canal St., heading away from the French Quarter). Directions to the conference room will be available in the lobby. Judge Clemon will start the meeting at 10 a.m., Central Time. If you have suggestions for items to be placed on the agenda, please e-mail Leslie Bryan, Esq., at email@example.com
May 5, 2005ľAn update on available information and assistance for claimants:
1) This Office has been provided with Dow Corning Sales Records. If you need to prove that your implants or your client's implants were made by Dow Corning, these records may support your position. You may contact Jeff Condra at the above phone number to inquire further about the use of these records and to request a search.
2) If you or your client participated in the Revised Settlement Program ("RSP") in MDL 926 and had your benefits reduced by 50% based on the belief at the time the RSP claim was filed that the other set of implants was made by Dow Corning, this office may be able to assist you with useful information if the Proof of Manufacture ("POM") has been rejected by the Dow Corning Settlement Facility ("DC SF"). In order to obtain help, you should be prepared to provide this office with, at a minimum:
ľa copy of the Letter(s) rejecting your Dow POM, and
ľa complete implant history covering the number of sets, and the manufacturer of each set, if known
ľany documentation supporting the position that the other set of implants was manufactured by Dow Corning
This information is necessary in order to fully understand each claimant's unique circumstances. This office does not make the determination that a claimant whose POM has been rejected by DC SF can have their 50% RSP reduction restored. However, depending on the factors involved, suggested courses of action may be to either cure the POM and stay in the Dow Settlement, or attempt to have the remaining 50% restored in the RSP by the MDL 926 Claims Office.
February 18, 2005--Today Judge Hood entered Case Management Order No. 3, which clarifies steps for claimants initiating Child Direct Claims in the Litigation Facility. While the order states that Child Direct Claimants are not under the obligation to file the Opt-Out Litigation Questionnaire by the upcoming February 28 deadline, it should be read carefully (click here) to determine when the complaint and questionnaire should be filed.
January 2005 -- If you have elected to opt-out to litigate your claims against the Dow Corning Litigation Facility, Inc., you must fill out the Litigation Questionnaire and mail it postmarked on or before February 28, 2005 to the Litigation Facility at the address shown on the Questionnaire. You may download a copy for submission here, or complete it online here. If you do not have an attorney, and you have questions about how to complete and submit the Questionnaire, you may contact Jeff Condra at the above phone number or e-mail address. While this office does not provide legal advice or representation to claimants, it can answer questions about the Questionnaire and the opt-out process.
September 29, 2004 -- Case Management Order # 2 has been issued by Judge Hood. Please click here in order to review the order and its directions and deadline for initiating an opt-out claim.
September 8, 2004 -- These attorneys have told the Office of Plaintiffs' Liaison Counsel ("OPLC") that they are willing to assist Dow Corning claimants in the completion and submission of claim packages to the Dow Corning Settlement Facility and to generally provide assistance on the various settlement options, including litigation. This information has been compiled by the OPLC as a service to claimants. It represents merely those attorneys who have expressed their willingness to assist claimants with breast implant and silicone-related claims. An attorney's inclusion on the linked list does not constitute an endorsement by the OPLC and does not constitute a representation that the attorney listed thereon will agree to assist a claimant, nor is it a guarantee of a favorable outcome to any action undertaken.
August 19, 2004--Paragraph 6(b) of Judge Hood's November 13, 2000 Case Management Order # 1(found here) prescribes the use of a Master Complaint with allegations that can be adopted by reference by individual claimants who opt out of the Dow Corning Settlement and litigate against the Dow Corning Litigation Facility. Click here to access the Master Complaint and here for the Complaint and Adoption by Reference to be used by individual claimants.
May17, 2004--The Claimants' Advisory Committee ("CAC") was appointed under the Amended Joint Plan, to replace the Tort Claimants' Committee as of the Plan effective date of June 1. The CAC's website (here) provides vital assistance to claimants considering opting-out of the Settlement. This site is updated regularly as questions frequently asked by claimants and their attorneys are addressed by the CAC. If you have questions about the details of opting-out, we encourage you to first review the information available at the CAC website. The CAC also publishes an electronic newsletter that keeps claimants informed as to developments on various issues of interpretation of the Plan that are awaiting resolution. In order to subscribe to the newsletter, click here. In addition, you may direct questions about the opt-out and litigation process to the OPLC via the message link at the top of this page.
April 2, 2004 -- On April 2, 2004, the Honorable Denise Page Hood, United States District Judge, entered an Order establishing June 1, 2004 as the effective date for the Amended Joint Plan of Reorganization of Dow Corning Corporation. Approved claims can be paid by the Settlement Facility after this date. To view a copy of this Order click here.
October 15, 2003 -- On October 15, 2003, the FDA Advisory Panel, by a sharply divided Panel vote of 9-6, issued a recommendation that Inamed Corporation be permitted to sell silicone gel breast implants in the U.S. under very tight guidelines. The Panel's recommendation is just that -- a recommendation to the FDA. It is not binding and should not be considered an approval of the safety of silicone gel breast implants by the FDA. The FDA is not required to accept this sharply divided recommendation. Currently, the U.S. Government is seeking repayment from silicone gel breast implant manufacturers for medical expenses it paid for implanted women to have their leaking and ruptured silicone breast implants removed and for treatment for medical conditions related to silicone. The Tort Claimants' Committee strongly disagrees with the Panel's recommendation because of the known adverse consequences and injuries caused by silicone gel breast implants. This is a brief summary of the Panel's recommendation. The Panel noted a problem with Inamed's application to market silicone breast implants. As expressed by the Panel's chair -- Dr. Thomas Whalen of the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School -- he was amazed that after all these years, Inamed had so little data. Inamed did not adequately explain why they had only two and three year data when research by the FDA and others showed implants rupture and break after 7 years. First, the Panel recommended that women who are implanted with silicone breast implants must receive detailed warnings that explain the known risks and adverse consequences caused by silicone breast implants. Inamed's data, for example, showed that after 3 years, up to 46% of silicone implant recipients needed additional surgeries because of painful scar tissue and other complications. Up to 25% of the women had to have the implants removed or replaced. The Panel's requirement that women receive detailed warnings is the kind of stringent warnings that the TCC has always claimed in litigation were required but which Dow Corning never gave. Also, the Panel recommended that women will need annual exams -- such as an MRI -- to be sure their implants haven't ruptured or begun leaking silicone gel. When implants rupture, they must be removed, the panel stressed. Published scientific data shows a high rate of rupture of silicone gel breast implants the longer they remain implanted. Women contemplating implantation with a silicone breast implant should know that they will have to pay for the implant's removal, the annual exam, and all other medical expenses associated with complications from the implants. Third, all implant recipients must be enrolled in a registry to track their health.
January 29, 2002 -- The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued its opinion on the Amended Joint Plan of Reorganization of Dow Corning. The Court affirmed the earlier rulings of the bankruptcy court and the district court which enjoined Plan opponents from suing a non-debtor corporation (Dow Corning's shareholders, Dow Chemical and Corning, Inc.); however, the Court remanded the case to the district court for further fact-finding. The Sixth Circuit also ruled that a procedural mechanism must be established to allow the United States Government to assert claims for subrogation under Medicare and other federal programs. As to foreign claimants, the Court ruled that the Plan's classification of foreign claimants satisfies the requirements of the bankruptcy code. To read a copy of the opinion, click here.
October 25, 2001 -- Oral argument on the pending appeals to the Amended Joint Plan of Reorganization of Dow Corning took place on October 23, 2001, before the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit located in Cincinnati, Ohio. We will advise of the Court's ruling as soon as it becomes available.
September 21, 2001 -- The Dow Claims Office mailed an informational newsletter to all registered claimants on September 17, 2001, which contains information about the status of the appeals and the ongoing settlement process.
August 28, 2001 -- The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has scheduled the oral argument on the pending appeals to the Amended Joint Plan of Reorganization of Dow Corning. The argument will take place on Tuesday, October 23, 2001, in Cincinnati, Ohio.
July 27, 2001-- Judge Hood ordered that claim forms must be prepared by January 8, 2002 and ready for mailing at the direction of the Court. Judge Hood also ordered that an informational newsletter be sent to all unrepresented and represented claimants and/or their attorneys by September 17, 2001.
Brief Background: The Tort Claimants Committee and Dow Corning reached agreement on a Joint Plan of Reorganization which was confirmed by the Bankruptcy Court in Michigan on November 30, 1999. That confirmation order was upheld on November 13, 2000 by Judge Hood, the District Court judge overseeing the bankruptcy. Certain claimants are now pursuing appeals to the Sixth Circuit and some have indicated that they will file a petition for a writ of certiorari with the United States Supreme Court. Under the terms of the plan, no claims can be paid until all of the appeals are resolved.
It is very important that you not contact the MDL-926 Claims Office in Houston, as that office does not handle matters concerning the Dow Corning Settlement. The Claims Office will not have any information that can assist you in pursuing a Dow claim.
Forms For Download:
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