Is there currently a class-action breast implant lawsuit?
Yes, there are currently several class-action lawsuits pending for victims of defective breast implants. Mentor, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, has been named in a 2017 product liability lawsuit that alleges the manufacturer’s silicone breast implants are defective. The plaintiff, Rexine Mize, claims the implants leak silicone, leading to a variety of ailments. A Seattle woman has also brought a case against Mentor alleging the manufacturer failed to follow FDA requirements during the company’s approval application, and failed to warn of the potential health risks of the breast implant surgery.
Unlike individual cases, class-action lawsuits are brought by one or a few people on behalf of a larger group of plaintiffs who have suffered similar damages or have a similar claim. Any settlement or compensation from the lawsuit is divided up among individuals in the group. For example, in 1998, Dow Corning settled a class-action lawsuit with 170,000 women who claimed their breast implants made them sick. After negotiations with lawyers, the company eventually agreed to pay the plaintiffs $3.2 billion. Law firms like McIntyre Law are still actively litigating both class-action and individual cases.
Class-action lawsuits represent victims where ever they live, whether on the East Coast, West Coast or in America’s Heartland. McIntyre Law is an Oklahoma-based firm that operates with a nationwide reach, but serves with small-town heart. We pride ourselves on personalizing your experience. Even if you live halfway across the country, you’ll always have the firm’s owner, Noble McIntyre, close by for questions and updates on your case.
What to Know Before You File a Lawsuit
Filing a lawsuit is a big decision and one that requires serious legal preparation. As the plaintiff in a civil case like a breast implant lawsuit, the burden of proof is yours. That means you’ll need documented facts to prove your case. Often, this requires collecting your medical records that show your healthcare appointments, plastic surgery records, and any follow-up visits. Federal law requires providers to give you access to your medical records, but how long they retain them varies from state to state. You will also need to file standard court documents like a complaint or petition, which outlines your case for the court, in addition to serving a summons to the defendant.
Some plaintiffs try to handle their personal injury cases alone, but they are usually disappointed by the results. Professional legal services are for serious-minded people who want big results. When you sue billion dollar corporations like breast implant manufacturers, you’re taking on an army of lawyers with enormous financial resources. McIntyre Law can help you level the playing field, with a group of experienced and passionate attorneys who can net you a larger profit than if you’d gone it alone.
What is a contingency fee?
When a lawyer works on a “contingency fee” basis, they’re agreeing to accept a fixed percentage of any monetary rewards from your lawsuit to cover their legal fees. If there are no rewards from the case, you don’t pay the lawyer. We get paid if, and only if, you do.
The Statute of Limitations for Breast Implant Lawsuits
The amount of time you have to file a breast implant lawsuit varies from state to state. In some states, victims have as little as twelve months to file, and time starts when a victim first discovers the defective implant or notices any related symptoms. To avoid missing the statute of limitations, it’s critical that you contact an attorney as soon as possible.
What compensation can I get from a breast implant lawsuit?
If you win your breast implant lawsuit, the court will likely award you benefits for the financial and emotional damages you suffered. Here’s a list of the common types of compensation and reimbursements from breast implant lawsuits.
- Cash awards
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Future expenses
Working with McIntyre Law
McIntyre Law litigates breast implant cases because it’s the right thing to do. We want justice for victims who’ve suffered from corporate neglect or medical malpractice. The unfairly injured deserve equal representation in court, someone who understands their pain. We want to be that for you.
Do you have a case for a breast implant lawsuit?
There’s probably a good reason you’re asking this question, so don’t ignore your instincts or what you’re experiencing. The fact is your breast implant wasn’t designed to last forever. It will rupture at some point in your life. So if you’re experiencing symptoms like numbness, infection, or chronic breast pain, you could have a case for a lawsuit. Asking a legal professional isn’t a waste of time. We’ll know if you have a case and will work hard to get you fair compensation for medical bills and pain and suffering.
Types of Breast Implants
Breast implants are commonly used for augmentation or for breast reconstruction after a mastectomy. To insert the implant, a surgeon makes an incision along the areola, underneath the breast, or in the armpit. The incision site is usually chosen to minimize visible scarring, so it depends on your preference and after consultation with your surgeon. After insertion, the implant is positioned within a pocket area behind or in front of your chest (pectoral) muscle. The method used depends on the type of implant, its size, and your body type. Implants vary in shape and size, but contain one of two types of materials: saline or silicone gel.
Silicone Breast Implants
Silicone implants are filled with either liquid silicone or a thicker “gummy bear” consistency. If a liquid silicone implant ruptures, the gel may fill the implant pocket, with the implant remaining inflated. You may be unaware of the rupture, which is why regular visits to your surgeon for an ultrasound or MRI screening are important to test the condition of the implant. Silicone breast implants are FDA-approved for augmentation in women ages 22 or above.
Saline Breast Implants
Saline implants are filled with sterile salt water. If a saline implant ruptures, the body will naturally absorb the liquid and the implant will collapse. Structured saline implants also contain salt water, but contain an inner structure aimed at making the breast feel more natural. Saline implants are FDA-approved for augmentation in women ages 18 or above.
Who manufactures breast implants?
33 Technology Drive
Irvine, CA 92618
P.O. Box 1490
Santa Barbara, CA 93116-1490
P.O. Box 19534
Irvine, CA 92623
5005 LBJ Freeway,
Dallas, Texas 75244
Source: FDA Website
Breast Implant Complications and Side Effects
Most complications from breast implants are “local,” occurring around the chest area. These local complications often result in additional operations to remove the implant and can occur at any time after the procedure. For example, many women experience a hardening of the breast area around the implant, a condition called capsular contracture.
While complications such as infections at the point of incision usually occur soon after a procedure, others like capsular contracture and breast implant rupture may be long-term and ongoing.
Breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) is a form of cancer of the immune system linked to breast implants, requiring victims to undergo surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Here is a list of other breast implant illnesses and reported complications from implants:
Reported Breast Implant Injuries
- Necrosis (dead skin)
- Chest wall deformity
- Pain or tenderness
- Hard knots
- Wrinkling or rippling
- Changes in sensation
- Decreased breast size
- Uneven appearance of the breasts
- Lumps in the breast, chest wall, or armpit
- Swollen or enlarged lymph nodes
Source: FDA Website
How do breast implants rupture?
A breast implant rupture occurs when a tear or hole appears in the outer shell of the implant. After a rupture, a saline implant will deflate as its liquid leaks out and is absorbed by your body. However, silicone gel is thicker and may remain in the shell or in the scar tissue formed around the implant, which means the implant may not deflate. Most silicone gel ruptures go unnoticed because of this. Some implants rupture only a few months after surgery, while others may happen ten or more years later.
Breast implants aren’t designed to last your entire life. At some point, they will rupture, and the longer you have your implants, the higher the chances for a breast implant rupture and the need to have them removed or replaced.
Source: FDA Website
Breast Implant Recalls
While there haven’t been any specific recalls of breast implants due to safety concerns, the FDA is still investigating the connection of implants to breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). The agency first discovered a possible link in 2011, and since then the World Health Organization has designed BIA-ALCL as “a T-cell lymphoma that can develop following breast implants.” Recent medical case histories and publications are looking specifically into how breast implants with textured surfaces may be playing a role in recipients developing the disease. In February 2019, the FDA issued a letter to healthcare providers, warning of an “association between all breast implants, regardless of filling or texture, and BIA-ALCL,” and asking healthcare providers to “report to the FDA cases of BIA-ALCL in patients with breast implants.”
Current studies estimate a 1 in 3,817 to 30,000 chance of developing BIA-ALCL from textured implants. Since 2017, the FDA has received more than 400 medical device reports of BIA-ALCL.
Breast Implants and the FDA
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has regulated breast implants since the 1970s. The 1990s saw an increase in implant-related health issues and legal action.
“Father of plastic surgery”, Vincenz Czerny performs first breast reconstruction
Silicone breast implant invented. Timmie Jean Lindsey receives first breast implant surgery.
FDA begins regulating breast implants and designates them as a Class II device
FDA reclassifies breast implants to Class III, requiring premarket approval (PMA)
(January) FDA requests all manufacturers voluntarily stop supplying silicone implants
(April) FDA panel bans silicone implants for augmentation from the market, pending further study
Class-action suit filed against Dow Corning
(May) FDA approves the first PMAs studies for saline-filled breast implants for Allergan and Mentor
(October) Advisory Panel approves Allergan’s PMA for its silicone implants
(Nov) FDA approves Allergan and Mentor silicone implants for augmentation, removing the 1992 ban
(January) FDA issues a warning about anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) in women with breast implants
Weber v. Allergan lawsuit (silicone)
(March) FDA approves Sientra’s PMA for a silicone gel-filled breast implant
FDA Approves Allergan and Mentor’s PMA for an implant that uses more cohesive gel
Laux v. Mentor lawsuit (saline)
Ebrahimi v. Mentor lawsuit (silicone)
Mize v. Mentor / Gravitt v. Mentor lawsuits (silicone)
Skelton v. Allergan / Cashen v. Mentor lawsuits (silicone)
(December) Allergan suspends sales and withdraws supply of textured breast implants in Europe
FDA issues letter to healthcare providers, warning of an association between all breast implants and BIA-ALCL
Source: FDA Website
How did breast implants get approved by the FDA?
During the 1960s when the first silicone breast was implanted, little regulation existed. Then as safety concerns began in the late 1970’s, the FDA passed the Medical Devices Amendment, requiring all new devices to be regulated. But things turned more serious in the late 1980s with claims that breast implant ruptures caused cancer and autoimmune diseases, so the FDA began requiring manufacturers like Dow Corning to conduct trial studies. In 1991 the FDA determined there wasn’t sufficient evidence to prove or disprove their safety, and banned their use for augmentation in 1992. In November 2006, the FDA lifted its 14-year-long ban on their use in augmentation, licensing Mentor and Allergan as manufacturers. Today, the FDA continues to monitor trial studies of breast implants, but safety concerns still exist, most recently with their link to Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL), a cancer of the immune system.
Source: Online Britannica