Monday, 18 November, 2013
A French court has ordered TUV Rheinland to compensate thousands of victims of faulty Poly Implant Prothese breast implants.
The German company TUV Rheinland was brought to the Commercial Court in Toulon in order to answer claims raised in a class action that it negligently awarded the faulty Poly Implant Prothese breast implants the European seal of approval, without noticing that the implants contained low grade industrial silicone instead of the higher grade gel that had been originally approved.
The class action was comprised of PIP breast implant victims from Britain, Ireland, France and South America; some of whom had sustained terrible injuries after the silicone gel from the implants leaked into their lymph nodes when the implants leaked or ruptured. One woman in France is acknowledged to have died due to the faulty Poly Implant Prothese breast implants.
TUV Rheinland´s legal team argued that they had been defrauded by Jean-Claude Mas – the founder of Poly Implant Prothese, who is waiting a verdict on the charge of aggravated fraud – and that their role had been to inspect the manufacturing process rather than the finished product. However, solicitors on behalf of the class action contested that TUV Rheinland failed to do its job properly and gave “global credibility” to a product which was clearly faulty.
After hearing evidence from both parties – during which time it emerged that the employee in charge of quality control had only a cookery diploma, while another in charge of the laboratory had previously trained as a pastry chef – judges at the Toulon court found that TUV Rheinland had ”failed its obligations of checking, caution and vigilance” and awarded each claimant €3,000 with immediate effect for the removal of their faulty breast implants.
Future awards of up €13,000 for faulty Poly Implant Prothese breast implants could be made to each of the 17,000 plaintiffs subject to an individual assessment and an appeal against the settlement by TUV Rheinland to be heard early next year. If unsuccessful in their appeal, up to 400,000 other victims could claim compensation for faulty Poly Implant Prothese breast implants – suggesting that TUV Rheinland could be faced with a bill of €6.4 billion for their negligence.
Speaking after the verdict was announced, spokesperson for the PIP Action Campaign Group Jan Spivey said “It is a first important victory for PIP victims worldwide and especially those British victims who have received no help from the health service or the Government. It means that they can start to get the surgical help [to replace defective implants] that they urgently need.”
The verdict in France comes just over three weeks after the Irish Medicines Board released its latest update on the faulty Poly Implant Prothese breast implants:
“The Irish Medicines Board (IMB) notes the scientific opinion [from the European Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks] which states that ‘There is currently no convincing medical, toxicological or other data to justify removal of intact PIP implants as a precautionary approach. Implant removal in the absence of malfunction may be considered for women who are experiencing significant anxiety because they have a PIP breast implant. However, the decision to remove an intact PIP implant for this reason should be based on an individual assessment of the woman’s condition by her surgeon or other treating physician after consultation’.
Women with health enquiries about the faulty Poly Implant Prothese breast implants, should contact the IMB on 01 6764 971.
For more information about compensation for faulty Poly Implant Prothese breast implants, speak with a solicitor on 1-800 989 900.