If you were one of the millions of women who obtained breast augmentation using silicone implants in the Seventies and Eighties you have probably followed the Dow Corning Class Action Lawsuit that was first filed in 1998. At that time, hundreds of thousands of women joined the class action lawsuit, believing that the implants had caused medical complications for them. This resulted in a bankruptcy filing by Dow Corning, and as of September 30, 2010 the Dow Corning Trust has paid out over $1.2 billion to claimants. December 15, 2010 marks the cut-off date for new claims, bringing this lawsuit closer to its finish line.
Silicone Implants and Scientific Opinion
The scientific and medical community is split over whether silicone implants are responsible for the claims involved in this lawsuit. In fact, The U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health contains almost 200 varying opinions regarding this topic. In spite of this controversy, the Settlement Facility of the Dow Corning Trust (SFDCT) has continued to pay on claims for autoimmune diseases and other medical conditions that women say were caused by the silicone that leaked or leached into their bodies. Claims ranged from $5,000 to $250,000.
According to the New York Time archives article, “Dow Corning in Bankruptcy over Lawsuits”, Dow Corning stopped manufacturing silicone implants in 1992 after the FDA’s request. However, Dow continued to supply silicone products to large equipment makers who signed agreements promising to defend Dow Corning from any lawsuits.
The SFDCT sent out four letters recently to women who are already participants in the Dow Corning Class Action Lawsuit:
1) Claimants without legal representation who have sent in acceptable proof of a Dow Corning Implant have until June 3, 2019 to file a disease or expedited release claim.
2) Attorneys representing ten claimants or less received a letter with instructions and deadlines.
3) Claimants who joined the class action lawsuit but never provided the required Proof of Manufacturer documents have until June 13, 2019 to satisfy this deficiency and file their claim.
4) Claimants who filed rupture and/or disease claims and have already received payment were sent a request for address verification. This verification is due by February 15, 2011 and is in preparation for Premium Payments.
Premium Payments to Disease or Rupture Claimants
Claimants who were awarded rupture or disease base payments were also eligible for Premium payments, should they be approved by the Finance Committee after all claims were processed. The hearing in the District Court regarding this additional award payment was deferred until June 2011, and actual payout timing would be affected by any new claims and outstanding appeals.
According to Attorney Stephen M. Frailich’s website, The presiding judge for this lawsuit is also currently considering a pending motion that could affect the premium payments for claimants in this class action suit. Frailich states that the decision on this motion will determine who gets the benefit of the interest earned on the initial payment made by Dow Corning in this settlement, the claimants or Dow Corning.
If you participated in this lawsuit, it is important that you contact the Settlement Facility for Dow Corning Trust to determine if further action on your part is required before these upcoming deadlines. If you received a disease or rupture payment, it is critical that you return the address verification form before February 15, 2011 to avoid delay in processing any Premium Payment you may be entitled to. For status on your claim or further information, you can contact the SFDCT Claims Assistance at 1-866-874-6099, the Claimants’ Advisory Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org or 491-394-0717 or send a request through an Email submission here.
New York Times archive “Dow Corning in Bankruptcy over Lawsuits”
Dow Corning Settlement Facility – Cumulative Payments for All Classes
U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health – PubMed.gov
Breast Implant Lawyers, Stephen M. Frailich “News Updates”