Silicone Gel Breast Implants Class Action

Result: Over 100,000 women have received settlement awards
Year: 1995

Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP is no longer accepting new clients for this case. If you have questions about this case please contact 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.

October 1, 2015 Update

RE: CLASS 7 MATERIALS CLAIMS IN THE DOW SETTLEMENT

The October 15, 2015 hearing in Detroit, Michigan at 11am ET has been re-scheduled to October 20, 2015. The Court will hear arguments from the CAC, Dow Corning, and the Objectors on the proposed Consent Order regarding distribution of Class 7 funds. Objectors must appear at this hearing or the Court may deny their objections with prejudice.

Sometime after October 20, 2015, the District Court will issue an opinion and Order on the proposed Consent Order. Note, the Court is not under any timetable or deadline to issue a ruling on the Objections heard at the October 20, 2015 hearing. Please remember that Class 7 claims cannot be paid until the Court has ruled and the Consent Order is entered by the Court.

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 info@sfdct.com 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 jcondra@oplc.org. 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 info@breastimplantinfo.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:

SF-DCT
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.

Dow Settlement:

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.

Reminder:

  • 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.
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