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What Is The Latest News On The Settlement For Women With Silicone Gel-filled Breast Implants?

(January, 1996)
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 settlement.

Who will be
eligible under
the revised
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
Two Categories?
Option One:
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.

Option Two:
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.