What Is The Latest News On The Settlement For Women
With Silicone Gel-filled Breast Implants?
It is expected that notices outlining the terms and conditions of the revised
settlement for women with silicone gel-filled breast implants will begin to go
out to eligible participants by the end of this month. Federal District Judge
Sam Pointer Jr., of Birmingham, Ala., has been working on finalizing the
revised settlement since the boards of Baxter International, Bristol-Myers
Squibb and Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing (3M) approved the renegotiated
settlement offer on Nov. 13, 1995.
McGhan Medical Corp. and Union Carbide Corp. are also participants in the new
settlement offer, which was created when the original $4.23 billion dollar
Global Settlement collapsed in the fall of 1995 due to significant underfunding
and because Dow Corning, a substantial contributor to the settlement, sought
Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Dow Corning is not a participant in the
revised settlement; as a result, only about half the number of women covered by
the Global Settlement will be eligible to participate in the revised
Who will be
The new settlement will cover domestic participants in the original Global
Settlement (not foreign participants) who have or had at least one implant
manufactured by Bristol-Myers Squibb Co./Medical Engineering Corp., Baxter
Healthcare Corp ./Heyer Schulte, 3M, or McGhan. Also eligible are class members
who previously opted out of the Global Settlement if they withdraw their "opt
out" and register under the new program by Dec. 16, 1996.
The revised settlement follows the format of the original Global Settlement,
and distinguishes between current claimants and those who become eligible
during a 15-year span of time (the original settlement's period was 30 years.)
Categories of claimants Current claimants under the new
settlement are defined as eligible participants who mailed to the Claims Office
by Sept. 16, 1994, a signed registration form and by Oct. 17, 1994, had filed a
sufficiently documented current disease compensation form. The second category
of registrants are those who registered with the Claims Office by March 1,
1995, or women who had previously opted out but who withdraw that opt-out and
register by Dec. 16, 1996.
What Are The Benefits
Under The Revised
Settlement For The
Current claimants will be paid fixed sums based on disease definitions and
severity of illness outlined in the original Global Settlement. The minimum
payment is $10,000 and the maximum $50,000. A current claimant who can document
rupture of a Bristol, Baxter or 3M implant (post-1984 McGhan implants are
ineligible) by Dec. 16, 1996, will also receive an additional rupture
supplement ranging from $15,000 to $50,000. The definition and proof of rupture
are stringent. The revised settlement program also provides for the payment of
explantation expenses to both current claimants and to other registrants who,
after April 1, 1994, and within the 15-year duration of the settlement program,
have a Bristol, Baxter or 3M implant removed. The $3,000 explantation amount
will not be reduced if the woman's explantation expenses are less than $3,000,
or if the procedure is otherwise reimbursed by insurance.
In addition to the rupture payment, explantation expense payment and fixed
benefits of the program, the new settlement also allows current claimants an
advance payment of $5,000. That payment will be credited to other amounts
payable under the settlement, but is otherwise non-refundable. The payments to
current claimants under will not be affected by the number or amounts of
claims, or the number of opt-outs. Consequently, unlike the Global Settlement,
there will be no "ratcheting down" of payments under this option because of the
number of claimants.
The new settlement offers a second payment option for both current
claimants and other registrants. It provides for significantly higher payments
for women who, during a 15-year period, satisfy disease and severity criteria
which are more rigorous than those in the original Global Settlement.
The benefits range from a minimum of $75,000 to a maximum of $250,000. Unlike
option One, there is a cap-$755,000,000 on the funding obligation of the
settling companies. Opt out rights are provided to women who, because of the
cap do not receive the full benefits.
What Is The Time Frame
For Receiving Payments?
The claims processing and notice to participating women will occur over a
number of months. As and when claims are processed, notice will be given to
women as to what classification they fall into and whether the documentation
they've provided is sufficient. Women will have 45 days after notification of
their status from the Claims Office to opt out of the revised settlement. Women
can expedite the receipt of advance payments by waiving their opt out rights.