Result: Over 100,000 women have received settlement awards
August 12, 2015 Update
RE: CLASS 7 MATERIALS CLAIMS IN THE DOW SETTLEMENT
The July 27, 2015 deadline to file objections to the proposed Class 7 Consent Order re: distribution of class 7 funds has now passed. We have been informed that the court received letters and other filings (deemed to be "Objections") in response to the proposed Consent Order, therefore, the court cannot enter the Consent Order until all objections have been handled. The end result is that no claims in Class 7 will be paid at this time.
The District Court has approved a Scheduling Order to handle the various filings submitted to the court, and those who filed objections will receive a copy of this Scheduling Order. There are the deadlines:
- September 15, 2015: deadline for the Claimants’ Advisory Committee (CAC) and Dow corning to file a response to the objections.
- October 2, 2015: deadline for Objectors to file a Reply to the response filed by the CAC and Dow Corning.
- October 15, 2015: hearing in Detroit, Michigan at 11am ET. The Court will hear arguments form the CAC, Dow Corning, and the Objectors on the proposed Consent Order. Objectors must appear at this hearing or the court may deny that objection with prejudice.
Sometime after October 15, 2015, the District Court will issue an opinion and Order on the proposed Consent Order. There is no way for Lieff Cabraser Heimann and Bernstein or for the SF-DCT to know WHEN the court will issue a ruling. We will only find out once the ruling is issued. Please note, Class 7 claims cannot be paid until the Court has ruled and the Consent Order is entered by the Court.
Also, please remember that all Class 7 claimants received the SF-DCT letter with the Notice of Proposed Order, including those claimants who are not actually eligible to receive any Class 7 benefits due to the marshaling requirement. We understand that this has been causing some confusion, therefore, if you are not sure of your status in the Class 7 and whether you may be eligible for a payment from the Class 7 Fund, you can either contact the SF-DCT directly at their toll-free number: 1-866-874-6099, or you can go to the SF-DCT website at www.sfdct.com then clicking on "Class 7 Claims" at the bottom of the left column. This will bring you to the "Class 7-Silicone Gel Breast Implant Fund" page on which you can type in your SID number in the box, and by clicking "search", it will pull up the status of your claim.
June 30, 2015 Update
RE: CLASS 7 MATERIALS CLAIMS IN THE DOW SETTLEMENT
On May 22, 2015, the Claimants' Advisory Committee (CAC) filed a proposed Consent Order with the District Court to seek approval to begin distribution of class 7 Materials Claim payments. The Court approved the Notice for the proposed Consent Order on June 2, 2015, and the Settlement Facility for the Dow Corning Trust (SF-DCT) mailed out a Notice to all class 7 claimants (whether they have been approved for payment or not) on June 12, 2015.
If you are a claimant registered in the Dow Settlement and you did not receive your Notice, it most probably means that the SF-DCT does not have your current address. Therefore, we recommend that you contact the SF-DCT immediately and provide them with your new address (or your claim may be put on hold). The toll-free number for the SF-DCT is 1-866-874-6099, and they are open from 9AM to 4PM Central Time; the SF-DCT is located in Houston, TX.
You can also check the status of your class 7 claim online by going to the SF-DCT website at sfdct.com and clicking on "Class 7 Claims" in the left column. This will bring you to the "Class 7-Silicone Gel Breast Implant Fund" page and, by typing in your SID number and clicking "search", you will get a message regarding the status of your class 7 claim. (The SID number is your personal identification number in the SF-DCT so they don't have to use your Social Security Number (SSN) for identification, thus protecting your privacy. If you did not receive a Notice and do not have your SID number, you can call the SF-DCT and by providing them with your SSN, the SF-DCT can look you up, provide you with your SID number, and/or give you the status of your claim). Alternatively, you can e-mail the SF-DCT at firstname.lastname@example.org for information regarding your claim.
On the SF-DCT home page, you will also be able to access a copy of the Notice Regarding Class 7 Consent Order and of the Consent Order To Establish Guidelines For Distributions From The Class 7 Silicone Material Claimants' Fund. There is a summary on pages 2-3 in the Notice of Proposed Order which covers all the different categories of class 7 claims and whether each one is eligible for payment or not. If you are not an LCHB client, please contact the SF-DCT directly at 1-866-874-6099 for information regarding your particular claim.
To note is that now there is a 45-day period (beginning on the date of the Notice i.e. June 12, 2015), during which attorneys and claimants can object to the Proposed Order. If no objections are made, then the process can move ahead and claimants with approved class 7 claims will be paid.
RE: STATUS OF PREMIUM PAYMENTS
We have no news at this time on the status of Premium Payments. The Court of Appeals' ruling on January 27, 2015 is final, and as of that date, all Partial Premium Payments have been stopped. Some of you received the Partial Premium Payment on your Rupture and/or Disease Claim(s) prior to the Court of Appeals' ruling; others did not receive any Partial Premium Payment yet. The Claimants' Advisory Committee (CAC) has indicated that, in the fall of 2015, it expects to receive an update on the findings of the Independent Assessor and the Finance Committee regarding the availability of funds in the future. We will post an update on the status of Premium Payments as soon as we receive any news from the CAC.
May 6, 2015 Update
TWO NEW EXPLANT ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS IN THE MDL-926 COMMON BENEFIT TRUST
(1) MDL-926 Explant Financial Assistance Program: this is to provide financial assistance to eligible women who need to have at least one of their silicone gel-filled or double lumen type breast implants removed. Implant(s) must have been implanted before June 1, 1993. This assistance will be in the form of a direct payment of up to $5,000 to the plastic surgeon who performs the implant removal surgery. Please be advised that the funds available for this Program are limited, and the Program may be modified or terminated at any time.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Program can be found at the following website: www.oplc.org. From this website, you can also access the "Notice of Interest" form which will list the eight (8) requirements for eligibility in the Program. Alternatively, you can request the "Notice of Interest" form from the Program Administrator, James J. Condra, who can be reached at (205) 252-6784, or by e-mail at email@example.com. The deadline for submission of the "Notice of Interest" form is December 31, 2015, and you can only submit the form if you satisfy all eight (8) of the requirements.
(2) The Insurance Coverage Assistance Program: this is a program that will provide advice and assistance to claimants (including those who have or may be eligible for Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance coverage) who may need help accessing their insurance coverage for breast implant removal. The program is to be operated by the National Center for Health Research, a consumer-oriented non-profit group in Washington, D.C.
The National Center currently operates the breastimplantinfo.org website. You can e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling them at (202) 223-4000 for further information about the Insurance Coverage Assistance Program.
PLEASE NOTE: Neither of these programs is affiliated with the Settlement Facility for the Dow Corning Trust (SF-DCT) or the Settlement Plan. Therefore, do not send any documents to the SF-DCT, and because the deadline to submit an Explant Claim in the Dow Settlement expired on June 2, 2014, the Insurance Coverage Assistance Program cannot help claimants with their claims in the Dow Corning Settlement Plan.
Because these programs are not part of the Dow Settlement, please be advised that Lieff Cabraser Heimann and Bernstein is only providing this information as a courtesy. If you have any additional questions regarding the MDL-926 Explant Financial Assistance Program, please contact the Program Administrator, James J. Condra, and for the Insurance Coverage Assistance Program, please contact the National Center for Health Research.
February 2015 Updates - Dow Settlement
REGARDING PREMIUM PAYMENTS TO CLASS 5 CLAIMANTS: On March 31, 2014, the Court of Appeals denied Dow Corning's Motion to Stay (stop) the Partial Premium Payments from being issued. The Settlement Facility for the Dow Corning Trust (SF-DCT), therefore, immediately began to send out award letters, followed by the partial Premium Payment checks (50% of the Premium Payment amount) to eligible Dow Corning breast implant claimants. We were informed by the Claimants’ Advisory Committee (CAC) that, as of January 27, 2015, the SF-DCT had issued most of the partial Premium Payments, for a total of $98,445,984 to 44,451 claimants.
On January 27, 2015, however, the Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit heard an appeal from Dow Corning and reversed the Court’s previous approval of partial Premium Payments, sending the issue Back to Judge Hood for further proceedings. As a result, the SF-DCT has stopped issuing all partial Premium Payments, including checks returned for re-issue. This means that, (1) if you have not already received a partial Premium Payment check, you will not receive one until the District Court and/or the Court of Appeals authorizes it; (2) if you returned a partial Premium Payment check to the SF-DCT for any reason (i.e. to request that the check be made payable to a deceased claimant’s estate, to issue a check to a new name, etc.), the SF-DCT will not re-issue the check at this time; (3) if you received an award letter for a partial Premium Payment, but then never received the check because it was lost in the mail, or if the check has expired, you should notify the SF-DCT of this, but they will not re-issue a new check to you at this time. Therefore, if you have received a partial Premium Payment check, we strongly recommend that it be cashed immediately, since it is our understanding that the SF-DCT will honor existing checks that were issued.
In light of this development, if claimants have received and cashed their 50% partial Premium Payment checks (and would potentially be due to receive the other 50% of the Premium Payment for their Rupture and/or Disease claims), please be advised that we do not know if and when the SF-DCT will be able to issue the remainder of the Premium Payments. We ask our clients to please inform us right away of any changes to their contact information (mailing address and/or telephone number) so that there is no delay in reaching you if and when the SF-DCT resumes distribution of partial Premium Payments. If you are not an Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein client, please inform the SF-DCT directly of any changes to your contact information.
On February 10, 2015, the CAC filed a petition for a rehearing on this ruling. At this time, we do not know if the Court of Appeals will accept the request.
REGARDING CLASS 7 MATERIALS CLAIMS: We still do not know when the SF-DCT will begin to issue payments to Class 7 claimants. The last information we received from the Claimants’ Advisory Committee (CAC) in the fall of 2014 was that they were hoping to file a motion at the end of 2014, or the beginning of 2015, asking for Court approval to allow the SF-DCT to start distribution of Class 7 payments. To our knowledge, this motion has not yet been filed.
REGARDING TISSUE EXPANDER CLAIMANTS: The Claimants’ Advisory Committee (CAC) informed us in August 2014 that the Court of Appeals issued an Order approving the District Court’s earlier ruling that tissue expanders are considered "breast implants" and, therefore, are eligible for benefits in the Dow Settlement. If you have acceptable proof of manufacturer of implantation with a Dow Corning tissue expander, you have until the deadline date of 06/03/2019 to file a Disease Claim or an Expedited Release Claim. If you had already applied for the Expedited Release prior to last year’s Court ruling, and now have medical records to support a Disease Claim instead, and if you receive the $2,000 Expedited Release check from the SF-DCT, you can return the Expedited Release check to the SF-DCT within 60 (sixty) days from the date on the check and indicate in your cover letter that you are going to apply for a Disease Claim. If you do not get approved for a Disease Claim and/or cannot cure any deficiencies found in your claim, the SF-DCT will re-issue the Expedited Release check to you.
DEADLINE REMINDERS: The deadlines to submit to the SF-DCT a Class 5 Rupture Claim and/or an Explant Claim have both expired; the deadline to file a Class 7 Materials Claim has also expired. The only remaining claim that can be filed in the Dow Settlement is either a Class 5 Disease Claim or an Expedited Release Claim, and the deadline to file is June 3, 2019. Please remember that once you submit a Disease Claim to the SF-DCT, the clock starts ticking, and if there are any deficiencies in your claim, you will have just one year within which to cure the deficiencies or that Disease Claim will be forever barred, and you will have to either apply for a different Disease Claim, or accept the Expedited Release.
April 2014 Updates - Dow Settlement
FINAL REMINDER ABOUT THE EXPLANT DEADLINE: The final deadline to submit an Explant Claim to the SF-DCT is June 2, 2014. If you have not already submitted an Explant Claim, you must submit to the SF-DCT the Explant Claim form signed and with the supporting medical records on or before June 2, 2014. The medical records submitted with your Explant Claim must show that you had your Dow Corning silicone gel breast implants removed (and not replaced with silicone) between December 31, 1990 and June 2, 2014. If you do not submit the signed Explant Claim form with the supporting medical records by this deadline, your Explant Claim will be permanently barred from review and/or payment by the SF-DCT.
GOOD NEWS REGARDING PREMIUM PAYMENTS: We have been informed that on March 31, 2014, the Court of Appeals denied Dow Corning's Motion to Stay (stop) the Partial Premium Payments from being issued. This means that the SF-DCT will soon begin sending out award letters to those claimants who are eligible for the partial Premium Payments. The award letters will be mailed out on a rolling basis, and the checks will be mailed out approximately two weeks after the award letters are sent. It will take six months or more for the SF-DCT to mail all of the letters and checks so please be patient. Because this is being done on a rolling basis, some of you will receive your award letters and checks sooner than others. The SF-DCT asks that you please do not call them now to ask when you will receive your check. We will update this website when the process is complete so that if you still haven’t received your award letter and check, steps can be taken to check your status with the SF-DCT.
We ask our clients to please inform us right away of any changes to your contact information (mailing address or telephone number) that may have occurred since the last contact we had with you. We will need your new address or telephone number so that there is no delay in reaching you when the award letters and checks arrive. If you are not an LCHB client, please inform the SF-DCT directly of any changes to your contact information.
REGARDING CLASS 7 MATERIALS CLAIMS: We still have no time frame for when the SF-DCT will complete the processing of disputed Class 7 Materials Claims, nor when the SF-DCT will begin to issue payments to Class 7 claimants.
REGARDING TISSUE EXPANDER CLAIMANTS: The Claimants’ Advisory Committee (CAC) informed us that briefing is complete on Dow Corning's second appeal to the 6th Circuit on the issue of whether tissue expanders are "Breast Implants". The CAC expects to receive a date for oral argument soon, and we all hope that the Court of Appeals will rule promptly on this appeal, thus paving the way for tissue expander claimants to have their claims reviewed by the SF-DCT.
April 2012 Updates - Dow Settlement
The SF-DCT has moved, and their new address effective April 3, 2012 is:
3200 SW Freeway, Ste. 1500
Houston, TX 77027
Their telephone number remains the same: 1-866-874-6099.
Their P.O. Box also remains the same: P.O. Box 52429, Houston, TX 77052
Regarding Premium Payments: the matter of if and when the SF-DCT issues premium payments is now under consideration by the Court. We do not know when the Court will issue a ruling. As soon as an order is entered, we will post it on our website and contact any potentially eligible LCHB clients.
Regarding Class 7 Payments: Because some unreviewed Class 7 claims were found during an audit at the SF-DCT, the SF-DCT cannot issue any Class 7 payments until those unreviewed claims are processed and given the one year time period within which to cure deficiencies. As of this date, the SF-DCT cannot predict the exact date when Class 7 payments are going to be made, but it will probably be at least another year before they can issue payments.
REMINDER ABOUT THE EXPLANT DEADLINE: The final deadline to submit an Explant Claim to the SF-DCT is June 2, 2014 . Please remember that you must have acceptable Proof of Manufacturer before you can be considered for the Explant benefit. The Explant benefit is $5,000.00 (five thousand dollars), and in order to qualify for this benefit, you must have your Dow Corning implants removed and not replaced with silicone.
Please keep in mind that it can sometimes take six months or longer to schedule an explant surgery and to obtain the necessary medical records from your surgeon or hospital. Therefore, if you want to apply for this benefit, you should keep this deadline date in mind, and not wait too long to discuss your potential explant surgery with your doctor.
August 10, 2011 Updates
Revised Settlement Program:
The Revised Settlement Program (RSP) permanently closed on 12/15/10, therefore as of that date, the Claims Office has not been accepting any new claims. However, new disease claims that were received by the Claims Office by the deadline, will be reviewed and if found deficient, those claimants will receive a notification letter and will have one year from the date on their letters to try to cure the deficiencies.
We have been informed by the Claims Office that, because so many claimants filed their disease claims at the last minute, it will probably take the Claims Office until the end of the year before it can complete at least all of the first reviews. The Claims Office asks that claimants please be patient, and that if anyone wishes to find out the status of her own particular claim, she is welcome to call them at 1-800-600-0311; if you are an LCHB client, you can of course call us for information regarding your claim.
The Settlement Facility for the Dow Corning Trust (SF-DCT) is current in processing class 5 claims for disease and explant benefits. Reviews of Class 7 disease claims, however, are not all completed yet. Class 7 claims found to be deficient will have one year from the date of their notification letters to try to cure the deficiencies. Therefore, the SF-DCT is not expecting to be able to make payments to class 7 approved claims for another 1-2 years.
With regard to Premium Payments on approved class 5 disease and rupture claims, the latest information we have is that on June 30, 2011, the Finance Committee filed a motion recommending that the Court authorize Premium Payments in the amount of 50%, and that these payments would begin in 2012. However, this does not mean that the Premium Payments will actually be made in 2012, because Dow Corning will most likely file an objection, then the District Court would hold a hearing on the objection, and this may even be followed by an appeal. So basically we do not know how long the process may take before there is a final ruling on whether any Premium Payments can be made, or when they will be made, if ever.
With regard to Increased Severity payments for Disease Option 1 and Disease Option 2, these will be paid when and if the District Court authorizes Premium Payments to be made.
- deadline to file an Explant Claim (if you have your Dow implants removed and not replaced with silicone) is 6/2/2014;
- deadline to file either a Disease Claim or an Expedited Release Claim is 6/3/2019.
REMINDER: MDL-926 CLOSES ON DECEMBER 15, 2010
If you have an implant made by any of the companies participating in the Revised Settlement Program ("RSP"), you must submit any and all claims you have to the MDL-926 Claims Office by December 15, 2010. No new claims will be accepted by the MDL 926 Claims Office for the RSP after this date.
For more information, go to the MDL-926 Claims Office website.
Some of the brand names of eligible breast implants in the RSP are: Heyer-Schulte, American Hospital Supply, Natural Y, Surgitek, Replicon, Natural Y, MEC or Medical Engineering, all polyurethane-covered breast implants, McGhan Medical, and 3M/McGhan. A complete list of eligible RSP implants is available at tortcomm.org.
The benefits that you may apply for in the RSP are listed below:
Settlement Benefit: Long-Term Benefit Disease Schedule (this is the same as Disease Option 2 in the Settlement Option in the Dow Corning Trust)
Deadline in RSP: December 15, 2010
Settlement Benefit: Explantation for removal of a Bristol, Baxter or 3M breast implant
Deadline in RSP: December 15, 2010
Rupture claims - no rupture claims are allowed except for "Current Disease Claimants"
Late Registration - claimants who did not file a Timely claim in the RSP may still register with the MDL 926 Claims Office by December 15, 2010. Late Registrants will be paid benefits only pursuant to the Long Term Disease Schedule to the extent funds are available pursuant to the funding obligations of Bristol, Baxter and 3M.
Post 8/84 McGhan Claimants - are eligible to apply only for Long Term Disease. The deadline is December 15, 2010. No explant or rupture claims will be paid.
April 16, 2010 Updates
URGENT REMINDER REGARDING THE FINAL DEADLINE IN THE REVISED SETTLEMENT PROGRAM
This is an urgent reminder to claimants with Bristol, Baxter, 3M, or post-84 McGhan implants who are eligible to receive benefits in the Revised Settlement Program (RSP) that the final deadline to file any and all claims is December 15, 2010 . This means that the Claims Office for the RSP will not accept submissions of any additional claims after December 15, 2010, and that the RSP will permanently end on that date. Therefore:
- If you are a "Current Claimant" or an "Other Registrant" and are eligible for, but have not yet filed, a disease claim or an explant claim, you must file your claim(s) with supporting medical records by December 15, 2010.
- If you are a "Late Registrant" and have not yet filed a Long-Term Disease Claim, you must file your claim with supporting medical records by December 15, 2010 even though you may be eligible for payment only if payments to all "Current Claimants" and "Other Registrants" do not exceed Defendants' maximum obligations. "Late Registrants" are not eligible for explant benefits.
- If you are a claimant with post-84 McGhan implants, you may be eligible for reduced amount disease benefits, but not for explant benefits.
- If you had a Bristol or Baxter silicone gel implant and had submitted to the Settlement Facility for the Dow Corning Trust (SF-DCT) a Class 7 Materials Disease Claim, or you have both a Bristol, Baxter or 3M AND a Dow Corning implant, please remember that the SF-DCT will not review your Class 7 Materials Disease Claim or make any additional payment until you first file and settle your disease claim in the RSP (and by the same deadline date of December 15, 2010).
- Please remember that implant ruptures were only covered in the RSP as part of a Fixed-Amount disease claim, and that the 1996 deadline for filing such claims has long since passed.
If you are not sure of your status in the RSP, you can call the Claims Office at their toll-free number: 1-800-600-0311 and by providing your Social Security Number, they can tell you if you are registered and for what benefits you may still be eligible. If you are not registered in the RSP, you may be able to register as a "Late Registrant".
If you are a Lieff Cabraser client and have not received the reminder letters that the Claims Office and/or we sent you regarding this final deadline, please call us right away so that we can discuss your status and file any remaining claims for which you may be eligible before this final deadline expires.
August 2009 Updates
On August 24, 2009, the Claims Administrator of the SF-DCT issued some changes and notices with regard to its processing of disease claims:
- The Claims Office may establish regulations relating to the submission of medical documentation and set reasonable periods for reviews and re-reviews of your Disease Claim in response to a deficiency notice. This is per Annex A 7.09biii of the Settlement Agreement.
- The Claims Office will not usually review your submissions in response to a deficiency notice more than twice; however, the Claims Administrator may conduct a third review after the completion of the review of all other Disease Claims. This is also per Annex A 7.09biii of the Settlement Agreement.
- If you submit duplicate records and/or information that does not address the deficiencies in your claim on the second re-review, the SF-DCT will not review the claim again, and will instead process the claim for the payment for which you were eligible at the time of the second review - even if the cure deadline has not expired. **Therefore, you should read carefully the Notification of Status letter from the SF-DCT so that you can collect the records that are needed to cure the deficiencies in your claim, and submit them all together to avoid problems with re-reviews. If you don’t understand the deficiencies, the SF-DCT has a Disease Call Specialist with whom you can make an appointment to get clarification. The SF-DCT’s toll free number is 1-866-874-6099.
- Review of Option 2 Disease Claims is still backlogged.
- In an effort to expedite processing of Option 2 disease claims, the SF-DCT has indicated that it will no longer review Option 2 claims and ACTD Discretionary claims at the same time. This means that the SF-DCT will review your Option 2 claim first and if it is found deficient, you will have a year within which to cure the deficiencies. If you are unable to cure the deficiencies in your Option 2 claim by the cure deadline date, and your claim is not approved for any level of compensation, the SF-DCT will then automatically place your ACTD claim in line for review. You will then have a one year period within which to cure the deficiencies in your ACTD claim.
- You can request an ACTD review at any time while the SF-DCT is reviewing your Option 2 claim. Choosing this option will result in two cure deadline dates that could expire at or around the same time.
Please remember that if you receive a Notification of Status letter from the SF-DCT which lists the deficiencies in your claim, you must submit your cure documents to the SF-DCT before the deadline listed in your letter. The SF-DCT will not consider any documents received after the cure deadline.
April 2009 Updates
5th Anniversary of the Effective Date of the Dow Corning Plan of Reorganization is June 1, 2009, and how this affects option 2 Disease Claims not yet filed
The Dow Settlement officially began on June 1, 2004, and on that "Effective Date", all deadlines for filing claims in the Dow Settlement went into effect and began to run. The Settlement Facility for the Dow Corning Trust (SF-DCT) began reviewing and paying approved claims. The SF-DCT indicates that, as of March 31, 2009, it has paid out over one billion dollars to claimants.
This 5th anniversary date is also very important for any Dow claimant who had qualifying symptoms for an option 2 disease occurring within a 24-month period and documented before June 1, 2004, but hasn't yet filed an Option 2 Disease Claim. Your deadline for submitting your option 2 Disease Claim based on those qualifying symptoms is June 1, 2009.
In other words, if a claimant had symptoms before June 1, 2004, she can no longer rely on those symptoms if filing a new option 2 disease claim on or after June 1, 2009; the claimant must have new qualifying symptoms. This is because one of the requirements in order to qualify for a Disease Option 2 payment - as stated in the SF-DCT's Disease Claimant Information Guide, page 14, Q5-2 (2) - is:
"Qualifying findings must have occurred within a single 24-month period within the five (5) years immediately preceding the submission of the claim except that this period is tolled from May 15, 1995 to the Effective Date."
Therefore, if you have been diagnosed with an option 2 Disease, please be aware of this 24-month/5-year requirement if you haven't yet filed your option 2 Disease Claim. If you are a Lieff Cabraser client and have symptoms of an option 2 Disease that were documented prior to June 1, 2004, please contact us immediately so we can prepare and submit your claim before June 1, 2009.
Please be aware of this 24-month/5 year requirement going forward, so that if your doctor documents qualifying symptoms for an option 2 disease within a single 24-month period, we can file your option 2 Disease Claim within five (5) years of the documentation of those symptoms.
February 2009 Updates
Class 5 - Urgent Reminder for Certain ANDS, SLE and ACTD Dow Claimants:
If you previously filed a claim for any of the above diseases, and received a deficiency notice from the SF-DCT, these are the final cure deadlines that apply*:
- March 2, 2009 - for certain Atypical Neurological Disease Syndrome (ANDS) claims;
- May 4, 2009 - for certain Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) claims;
- July 9, 2009 - for certain Atypical Connective Tissue Disease (ACTD) claims.
*if you have any questions regarding your specific cure deadline, contact the SF-DCT at 1-866-874-6099 or at email@example.com.
The deadline to submit either a Class 5 Disease Claim or an Expedited Release is June 3, 2019. The deadline to submit a Class 5 Explant Claim to the SF-DCT is June 2, 2014.
If you had both a Dow implant and a Bristol, Baxter or 3M implant, you must file your Disease Claim (or your Benefits Schedule Options Form selecting Fixed or Long-Term disease benefits) in the Revised Settlement Program (RSP) by the deadline date of December 15, 2010 before the SF-DCT will review your disease claim.
Class 7 Silicone Gel Material Claimants:
- If you rejected the $3,000 Expedited "Cash-Out" offer and requested a full Disease Claim review by the SF-DCT, please note that no class 7 Disease Claims can be paid until all disease claims have been reviewed and the 1-year time period to cure deficiencies has expired. Payments for class 7 Disease Claims may therefore take several more years to be distributed.
- If you have not received either the $600 Expedited Release payment or the $3,000 Expedited "Cash-Out" offer, or any Notification of Status for your Class 7 Materials Claim, we advise you to immediately call either your attorney (if you are represented by one), or the SF-DCT at 1-866-874-6099, to make sure they have your current address, and to get status of your claim.
Urgent Reminder for Revised Settlement Program (RSP) Claimants:
The final deadline to submit an Explant Claim and/or a Disease Claim to the RSP Claims Office is December 15, 2010. On that date, the Revised Settlement Program will end permanently and no new claims will be accepted. If you have not received a reminder letter from the Claims Office, we advise you to immediately call either your attorney (if you are represented by one), or the Claims Office at 1-800-600-0311, to make sure they have your current address, and to get status of your claim.
**If you are represented by an attorney, do not sign any forms that the RSP Claims Office may send you until you consult your attorney.
May 2008 Updates
Class 5, 6.1 and 6.2 Dow Claimants:
- There are several pending motions before the court, including the Claimants' Advisory Committee's (CAC) motion concerning whether tissue expanders are breast implants eligible for benefits in the SF-DCT, and whether the releases that Dow Corning obtained as part of its Explant Assistance program (from 1992-1995) are valid. For a complete list of the motions that the CAC has pending, you can go to the CAC's official website at www.tortcomm.org
- At this time, there is no indication as to if, or when, the SF-DCT will make Premium Payments on approved Rupture and/or Disease Claims. The Dow Settlement provides that (1) Premium Payments can be made only after Base Payments and higher priority payments have been or can be paid, and (2) the U.S. District Court is assured that sufficient funds remain to pay other claims as well as the Premium Payments. Therefore, please keep your contact information current with our office so that, if and when Premium Payments are made, we will be able to contact you and provide you with any additional payments you may be eligible to receive.
- A reminder that the deadline for NOI claimants to submit Explant and/or Rupture Claims is October 20, 2008. This deadline only applies to classes 5, 6.1 and 6.2 NOI claimants; it does NOT apply to timely filed claimants.
- The deadline for submission of an Explant Claim for timely filed claimants is June 2, 2014.
- The deadline for submission of either an Expedited Release or a Disease Claim for timely filed claimants is June 3, 2019.
Class 7 Silicone Gel Material Claimants:
- The SF-DCT is making timely Expedited Release payments of $600. to each class 7 Materials claimant whose class 7 Proof of Manufacturer is accepted;
- The SF-DCT is offering a quick "Cash-Out" option of $3,000 in lieu of a full review of a claimant's class 7 Disease Claim, again upon acceptance of the claimant's Proof of Manufacturer;
- The SF-DCT expects to complete the Proof of Manufacturer reviews of class 7s by June 2008;
- The SF-DCT has indicated that it has begun review of Class 7 Disease Claims, but that it may take up to 2-3 years for a full Disease Claim review, and up to 5 years before payments are made.
Revised Settlement Program (RSP) Claimants:
Please remember that the final deadline to submit an Explant Claim and/or a Disease Claim to the RSP Claims Office is December 15, 2010. On that date, the Revised Settlement Program will end permanently.
October 2007 Updates
In September 2007, the Court approved a settlement by which class 5 and 6 Notice of Intent (NOI) or Conditional claimants will now be allowed to apply for and, if eligible, receive benefits for Explant, Rupture and Expedited Release Claims. This settlement applies ONLY to NOI or Conditional claimants.
Please note that there is a new Explant and Rupture Claim deadline for NOI Claimants ONLY, i.e., October 20, 2008. This means that if you are an NOI or Conditional claimant and want to potentially recover for Explant (if you don't replace with silicone) and/or Rupture, you must have your Dow Corning breast implant removed and your claim forms submitted to the SFDCT by October 20, 2008. This deadline applies ONLY to NOI or Conditional claimants.
Please also note that, as a result of this settlement, the Explant Assistance Program (EAP) through the SFDCT is now available to NOI claimants. However, be aware that the shortened Explant Claim deadline of October 20, 2008 (for NOI claimants ONLY) also applies to the filing of an EAP Claim.
Lastly, NOI claimants who are eligible and who want to accept the settlement and have their claims reviewed by the SFDCT as quickly as possible will want to sign and submit an "NOI Settlement Acceptance Form". This form can be found on the Claimants' Advisory Committee (CAC) website at www.tortcomm.org. We strongly recommend that, before signing the acceptance form, NOI claimants read the September 11, 2007 section on the CAC Home Page entitled "CAC Position Regarding the NOI Settlement and Consent Order," which explains why the CAC recommends that NOI claimants accept this settlement and what risks NOI claimants should consider.
August 2007 Updates
The Claimants' Advisory Committee" ("CAC") has announced that there has been a proposed settlement that applies only to "Notice of Intent", or "NOI" ("Conditional") claimants. An NOI claimant is one who filed a Notice of Intent or Proof of Claim in the Dow Corning bankruptcy case that was received after November 30, 1999 and before August 30, 2004.
The proposed agreement with Dow Corning will allow NOI claimants who accept the settlement to recover Explant, Rupture and Expedited Release benefits, if they are eligible. Previously, NOI claimants were only eligible for review of their Disease Claims by the Settlement Facility for the Dow Corning Trust ("SFDCT").
The proposed settlement has not yet been approved by the Court, and will not be implemented unless the Court approves it. It is our understanding that if the Court approves the proposed settlement, the SFDCT will send out an NOI settlement package to each NOI claimant or her attorney, if she is represented by counsel.
Please note that there are several important changes in the deadline dates for the Explant and Rupture Claims filed by NOI claimants ONLY:
- The deadline to file an Explant Claim will be only one year from the date noted in the NOI settlement package.
- The deadline to file a Rupture Claim will be one year following receipt of the NOI settlement package. This Rupture deadline applies only to NOI claimants. Therefore, if you are an NOI claimant and have ruptured implants, you can still be eligible for a Rupture payment if you have your Dow Corning silicone gel breast implants removed and as long as your supporting medical records prove rupture as defined by the Dow Settlement and are received before the one year deadline.
If you are an NOI claimant and you have any questions regarding this proposed settlement, feel free to contact the Settlement Facility at 1-866-874-6099, or your attorney, if you are represented by counsel.
We will post the Court's decision regarding this settlement as soon as that information becomes available to us, so please check this website periodically for further information.
April 2007 Updates
We have just been informed that the Claims Administrator of the SFDCT has extended the deadline to submit the claim form for the Expedited Release option for classes 5, 6.1 and 6.2. The deadline was June 1, 2007. This date has now been extended to June 1, 2019. What this means is that, if you are a class 5, 6.1 or 6.2 and have not already elected the Disease or Expedited Release Option, you do not have to decide by June 1, 2007 whether you would like to accept the Expedited Release Payment in lieu of a Disease Claim. The deadline to file for either the Expedited Release or the Disease Claim is now the same, i.e., June 3, 2019.
On November 17, 2006, the FDA approved the marketing of silicone gel breast implants made by Mentor Corp. and Allergan Corp. (formerly Inamed Corp.). Despite this approval, the Settlement Facility for the Dow Corning Trust ("SFDCT") and the MDL Claims Office for the Revised Settlement Program ("RSP") will continue to review claims and disburse benefits to all eligible claimants. To obtain the status of your claims in the Dow Settlement, you can contact the SFDCT at 1-866-874-6099. To obtain the status of your claims in the RSP, you can contact the MDL Claims Office at 1-800-600-0311.
Despite the FDA approval of the re-introduction of silicone gel breast implants into the marketplace, the controversy over long-term health impacts is still unresolved. Implants can rupture, and statistics show most will rupture within a few years. The need for surgical removal creates additional risks, scarring, and may result in permanent disfigurement. To express your concerns about their decision, you can contact the FDA at:
Food and Drug Administration
5600 Fishers Lane
Rockville, Maryland 20857
- National Organization for Women
- National Research Center for Women & Families' Implant Information Project
- FDA Breast Implant Resources
June 2006 Updates
The deadline of June 1, 2006 for submission of class 5 Rupture Claims (for Dow Corning silicone gel breast implants), for class 7 Materials Claims (for both Expedited Release or Disease), for class 9 (for Dow Corning 'other products'), for class 6 (for Foreign Claimants with Dow Corning breast implants), and for class 10 (for Foreign Claimants with Dow Corning 'other products') has now passed. Therefore, any of the above-listed claims received after this date will not be accepted by the SFDCT. There are no exceptions or extensions of this deadline, except for class 5 claimants who had their ruptured Dow Corning silicone gel breast implants removed within 90 days immediately before the June 1, 2006 deadline. They will have until July 1, 2006 to submit to the SFDCT their Rupture Claim Form and corresponding medical records.
The next deadline to keep in mind is June 1, 2007 for Expedited Release Claims for class 5, if you do not qualify for a Disease Claim. If you wish to authorize us to file your Expedited Release Claim, please send us your dated and signed Expedited Release Response Form (previously sent to all LCHB class 5 claimants). If you did not receive this form, you can contact us for another form.
**Please remember that if you accept the Expedited Release payment, you can no longer apply for a Disease Claim now or at any time in the future, but you may still be eligible for an Explant Claim if (1) you have not already received an Explant benefit, and (2) you do not replace with silicone, and (3) you file before the deadline date of June 2, 2014.
With regard to the processing and payment of class 5 claims by the SFDCT, please be advised that, although the SFDCT has improved their system of processing and payment of claims, there may still be long wait times for notification of status of your claims. For class 5 Explant and Rupture Claims, the estimated wait time is 4-6 months, though this may change due to the anticipated influx of Explant and Rupture Claims submitted for the June 1, 2006 deadline. Class 5 Disease Claims may take a year or longer to be reviewed and processed by the SFDCT. Class 5 Expedited Release Claims seem to be getting paid a bit faster, i.e., within 2-3 months of submission. Please remember these estimates are given to us by the SFDCT directly.
With regard to class 7 Materials Claims and class 9 'other products' claims, the SFDCT has indicated that claimants will not receive a payment from either of these two funds in this calendar year. In fact, the SFDCT has not yet announced what the Expedited Release payments will be for class 7 Materials claimants, but we will try to post that information here as soon as it becomes available to us.
If you have access to the Internet and would like to check on the status of your claim(s), the SFDCT Claimant Web Interface is operational. In order to access your claim information, please contact the SFDCT at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-866-874-6099 to request a copy of the Web access Authorization Form. The form requires a valid signature and your email address. SFDCT will then provide you with a username and password to use when accessing your claim information. Of course, Lieff Cabraser will be keeping tabs on all of our outstanding client claims, and we will call you as soon as we get notification of status for your claim(s).
You can also log on to the SFDCT official website at www.dcsettlement.com for basic information and responses to "Frequently Asked Questions" that are written by the SFDCT, and also for updates by the SFDCT Claims Administrator. You may also speak with a claims representative at the SFDCT at (866) 874-6099.
Because deadlines are now running and we may need to speak with you regarding your claim(s) or we may need you to sign paperwork relating to your claim(s), we would like to remind you to please keep us updated with your most-current contact information and to please reply to all telephone calls and correspondence from us as soon as practical. If you have recently moved -- please be sure to inform us of your updated address and contact information.
Remaining deadlines to keep in mind:
|Type of Deadline||Deadline|
|Breast Implant Expedited Release Claim Deadline||June 1, 2007|
|Breast Implant Explant and Explant Assistance Claim Deadline for Class 5||June 2, 2014 (Next Business Day)|
|Breast Implant Disease Option Claim Deadline for Class 5||June 3, 2019 (Next Business Day)|
|Class 6.2, Foreign Claimants, Option 3 Claim Deadline||June 3, 2019 (Next Business Day)|
Please check back from time to time for further updates regarding our progress within the claims process. We look forward to continuing to work with you throughout this claims administration process. (Please feel free to contact us with individual questions or concerns.)
January 2006 Updates
The Effective Date in the Dow Bankruptcy proceedings was declared to be June 1, 2004, therefore the claims process has been officially underway since that date. There are some important things for breast implants recipients with prospective claims in the bankruptcy proceedings to know:
First, the opt-out deadline of November 29, 2004 has long since passed. If you did not submit a signed Participation Form by November 29, 2004, your claim was placed automatically -- and permanently -- in the Settlement Facility. The option to opt-out and litigate individually in the Dow Litigation is no longer available to you.
Secondly, Lieff Cabraser has submitted Proof of Manufacturer ("POM") Claim Forms for most of our Class 5 clients, i.e., potential claimants with at least one Dow Corning silicone gel breast implant. For those claimants for whom Lieff Cabraser has received Notification of Status ("NOS") letters from the SFDCT deeming their POM acceptable, we have been submitting your Explant, Rupture, Expedited Release, and/or Disease Claims, and many of you have already received benefit payments for your approved claims.
Please remember that if you accepted the Expedited Release payment, you can no longer apply for a Disease Claim, but you may still be eligible for an Explant and/or a Rupture Claim if you file before the deadline dates (see table of deadlines below). On January 25, 2006, we sent out a mailing to all LCHB class 5 clients whose Dow silicone gel breast implants are still implanted and who may have a rupture of at least one of their implants to inform them that the Rupture Claim deadline is rapidly approaching (i.e., June 1, 2006). Please read the mailing carefully and feel free to call us with any questions pertaining to this deadline. If you do not receive the mailing by the beginning of February 2006, please call us immediately so we can confirm your address and re-send you a copy of the mailing.
With regard to the processing and payment of claims by the SFDCT, please be advised that, although the SFDCT has improved their system of processing and payment of claims, we have been notified that they will be upgrading their computer system during the first quarter of 2006. This means that, from approximately mid-February to mid-April, the SFDCT will temporarily suspend the processing and payment of claims (except for Explant Assistance Claims which will continue to be processed and paid within 30 days). LCHB will continue to submit your eligible claim(s) to the SFDCT, but there is no way for us to know when your claim(s) will be reviewed and/or when your benefits may be paid. We encourage you to contact the SFDCT directly at 1-866-874-6099 or by e-mail at email@example.com if you have any questions regarding payment of your claim during this period.
LCHB has filed Class 9 (Other Products) claims and is now filing Class 7 (Materials) Claims with the SFDCT. Please note that the deadline to file all class 7 Materials Claims (for either Expedited Release or Disease) is June 1, 2006. There are no exceptions or extensions of this deadline. Any class 7 Materials Claim received after this date will not be accepted by the SFDCT. Therefore, if you are a class 7 Materials claimant, you will need to decide with the help of one of our Legal Nurse Consultants (LNCs) and your doctor whether you may qualify for a Disease Claim. If you do qualify, the Disease Claim must be submitted to the SFDCT with supporting evaluation and all appropriate medical records by June 1, 2006. If you do not qualify for a Disease Claim, your Expedited Release Claim must be submitted to the SFDCT by June 1, 2006. This is the only remaining opportunity for Class 7 Materials claimants to receive any compensation in the Dow Settlement.
The SFDCT has indicated that no distributions of Disease Claims will be made from the Silicone Materials Claimants' Fund until each timely Silicone Material Claim is reviewed and evaluated under the Settlement Option selected and the one-year deadline to cure deficiencies, if any, has expired. For those of you who have a claim in Class 9, the Settlement Facility must review and evaluate all timely Other Products claims before distributing Medical Condition Payments to Other Product Claimants. Therefore, claimants will not receive a payment from either of these two funds in this calendar year.
If you have access to the Internet and would like to check on the status of your claim(s), the SFDCT has launched the Claimant Web Interface. In order to access your claim information please contact the SFDCT at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-866-874-6099 to request a copy of the Web access Authorization Form. The form requires a valid signature and your email address. SFDCT will then provide you with a username and password to use when accessing your claim information. Of course, Lieff Cabraser will be keeping tabs on all of our outstanding client claims, and we will call you as soon as we get notification of status for your claim(s).
Please note that you can also log on to the SFDCT official website at www.dcsettlement.com for basic information and responses to "Frequently Asked Questions" that are written by the SFDCT. You may also speak with a claims representative at the SFDCT at (866) 874-6099.
Because deadlines are now running and we may need to talk with you regarding your claim(s) or we may need you to sign paperwork relating to your claim(s), we would like to remind you to please keep us updated with your most-current contact information and to please reply to all telephone calls and correspondence in a timely manner. If you moved and neglected to inform us of your updated address, or have not received any mailings from us within the past few years, please contact us immediately.
|Type of Deadline||Deadline|
|Rupture Claim Deadline for Class 5||June 1, 2006|
|Silicone Material Claimant Claim Deadline for Class 7 (Expedited Release or Disease Claim)||June 1, 2006|
|Class 9 - Other Products Claim Deadline||June 1, 2006|
|Breast Implant Expedited Release Claim Deadline||June 1, 2007|
|Breast Implant Explant and Explant Assistance Claim Deadline for Class 5||June 2, 2014 (Next Business Day)|
|Breast Implant Disease Option Claim Deadline for Class 5||June 3, 2019 (Next Business Day)|
|Class 6.2, Foreign Claimants, Option 3 Claim Deadline||June 3, 2019 (Next Business Day)|
Please check back from time to time for further updates regarding our progress within the claims process. (Please feel free to contact us with individual questions or concerns.)
2005 Revised Settlement Program (RSP) Update (March 1, 2006)
For those claimants with breast implants that were eligible in the Revised Settlement Program (RSP) and may have already received some settlement benefits under the RSP, following is important information for you:
- If you are a "Current Claimant" and have received the $5000.00 Advance Payment, you may still be eligible for an Explant benefit if (1) you haven't already received it, and (2) if your implants were explanted after April 1, 1994, and (3) you did not replace with silicone.
You may also be eligible for Fixed or Long Term Disease benefits if you have one of the compensable diseases under the RSP. If LCHB already filed a Long Term Disease Claim for you and you have received payment(s), you may still be able to upgrade if your disease has worsened. You can contact one of our Legal Nurse Consultants to discuss your possible or existing Disease Claim. Keep in mind that the deadline for filing both Explant and Disease benefits or upgrades is December 15, 2010.
Note: Current Claimants were only eligible to receive Rupture benefits until December 16, 1996 and only as part of the Fixed Disease benefit.
- If you are an "Other Registrant" and have received the $1000.00 Advance Payment, you may still be eligible for an Explant benefit if (1) you haven't already received it, and (2) if your implants were explanted after April 1, 1994, and (3) you did not replace with silicone.
You may also be eligible for Long Term Disease benefits if (1) you have one of the compensable diseases under the RSP, and (2) you did not accept the $2500.00 Supplemental Offer. If LCHB already filed a Long Term Disease Claim for you and you have received payment(s), you may still be able to upgrade your Long Term Disease if your disease has worsened. You can contact one of our Legal Nurse Consultants to discuss your possible or existing Disease Claim. The deadline for both the Explant and the Disease benefits is December 15, 2010.
Note: Other Registrants are not eligible for Fixed Disease benefits. They are only eligible for Long Term Disease benefits if they qualify. Other Registrants are not eligible for any Rupture benefits.
- If you are a "Late Registrant", you may be eligible for Long Term Disease benefits only if payments to all Current and Other claimants does not exceed the Defendants' maximum obligations.
Note: Late registrants are not eligible to receive Advance Payments, Explant benefits or Rupture benefits.
Dangers Posed by Silicone Gel Breast Implants
On May 1, 2001, researchers from the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health announced that they had found that when silicone gel spreads outside the border of scar tissue around the breast area, cases of fibromyalgia increased significantly. This is the first study of women whose implants were known to have burst. Fibromyalgia is a syndrome with no clear biological cause that results in generalized pain and tenderness, sleep disturbance and complaints of loss of mental capacity.
In October 2003, an FDA advisory panel voted to allow silicone breast implants back on the market after an 11-year absence. The vote was 9 to 6, and every plastic surgeon on the panel voted to approve the implants.
Thereafter, the Chairman of the advisory panel urged the FDA to override the recommendation because of safety concerns. Thomas V. Whalen, a professor of surgery at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, wrote to the FDA: "It is incumbent upon the FDA to demand that the manufacturer establish in a rigorous, prospective, controlled study that these devices, despite their established breakage and leakage rates, are safe in the long term."
Also "extraordinarily troubling," Whalen added, is the enormous costs that women face for additional surgeries and removal of broken or painful implants. "This is a public health issue of no small import that must be addressed should the FDA second this misguided panel decision," Whalen concluded.
On January 8, 2004, the FDA rejected Inamed Corp.'s bid to bring silicone gel breast implants back to the market, more than a decade after they were first banned amid fears the devices harmed women. The FDA heeded criticism that Inamed had not studied the implants thoroughly enough to settle questions on how often they break apart in women's bodies and the resulting health effects from leaking silicone.
In 2005, Inamed Corp. again petitioned the FDA to reverse its ban on silicone breast implants, claiming that today's silicone implants are less likely to break and leak than versions sold years ago. The FDA advisory committee, however, stated that there are still concerns as to their safety and voted against recommending approval of Inamed's implants.
Lieff Cabraser's Role in the Litigation
In 1992, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, was appointed to the Plaintiffs' Lead Counsel Committee to represent a certified class of up to one million women who had received silicone gel breast implants. Subsequently, we were appointed to the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee (PSC), and currently serve as co-chair of the PSC Law Committee as well.
We are active on all Discovery committees, and have played an integral part in the Dow Corning bankruptcy negotiations. We represent approximately fifteen hundred breast implant clients, who are either members of the class action or who are litigating their cases individually.
The class action complaint asserts claims in strict liability, negligence, and fraud; it alleges design, manufacturing, and marketing defects and seeks compensation for personal injury, emotional distress, economic loss, and medical monitoring on behalf of the class.
Lieff Cabraser was one of five members of the negotiating committee, which achieved a $4.25 billion global settlement with certain defendants. This settlement was renegotiated in 1995 after Dow Corning declared bankruptcy, and is currently referred to as the Revised Settlement Program.
Dow Corning Update
Learn more about the Dow Corning reorganization and bankruptcy with a 2010 update on the case.
More than 95,000 women have received initial payments, explantation reimbursements, and/or long-term benefits.
We also serve on the Official Tort Claimants Committee (TCC), having been appointed by the U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee in the Dow Corning Corp. Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.
Contact Lieff Cabraser
If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to contact one of the members of the Silicone Gel Breast Implants team.