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FIRST SETTLEMENT IN NATIONAL BREAST IMPLANT LITIGATION: $24 MILLION FROM MENTOR CORPORATION

 BIRMINGHAM, Ala., July 9 /PRNewswire/ -- The district court supervising all federal breast implants litigation has granted preliminary approval to the first classwide partial settlement of breast implant claims. Mentor Corp. (NASDAQ: MNTR) and its affiliates have agreed to pay approximately $24 million, over a three-year period, to assign certain of their third party claims to plaintiffs, and to cease manufacture and sale of silicone gel breast implants within eighteen (18) months of the effective date of the settlement.
 The settlement was made in the Breast Implant class action Butler, et. al. v. Mentor Corporation, et. al., Case No. CV 93-P-11433-S filed against Mentor and its affiliates as a component of the federal multidistrict litigation, on behalf of a class of all persons who have received silicone gel and saline breast implant products, and those whose relationship to breast implant recipients gives rise to independent or derivative claims. Claims against other breast implant manufacturers, distributors and suppliers and against physicians, hospitals and other health care providers are not affected by the settlement. The class includes persons who have claims against Mentor Corp. based upon implantations of products containing or consisting of saline, silicone, silicone gel or an elastomer made of silicone before June 1, 1993.
 The Butler action was conditionally certified as a "mandatory" class action, from which class members may not opt out, because the settlement amount appears to exceed the forced liquidation value of the Mentor defendants' assets, creating a potentially "limited fund." Under these circumstances, the parties believe it would be unfair to allow separate lawsuits to deplete these assets; the settlement preserves them for all class members. Mentor has already placed $2 million into an interest- bearing escrow account pending final settlement approval. If the settlement is approved, additional settlement proceeds will be deposited into an interest-bearing Court-supervised Mentor Settlement Fund to be administered and distributed under Court approval. The allocation of settlement proceeds to specific uses or among particular claimants has not been determined. The MDL No. 926 Plaintiffs' Steering Committee will not request attorneys' fees from the Mentor Settlement Fund for their services in negotiating the settlement or in representing the Mentor Settlement Class. Requests for reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses must be approved by the Court.
 Settlement class members are entitled to comment in support of or objection to the settlement, and a hearing to consider final settlement approval L. Black Courthouse, 1729 Fifth Ave. North, Birmingham, Ala. Class members who wish to comment in writing must meet the postmark deadline of Aug. 27, 1993.
 Details of the settlement and the settlement approval process, including the procedures for comment and appearance by class members are contained in the official notice of Class Action and Proposed Settlement with the Mentor Defendants, which is being published in USA Today today and July 16. To receive a copy of this Notice and related Court Orders, contact Ralph I. Knowles, Esq.; co-chair, MDL 926 Plaintiff's Steering Committee; Doffermyre, Shields, Canfield & Knowles; 1600 The Peachtree; 1355 Peachtree St.; Atlanta, Ga. 30309; fax 404-881-3007; or Stanley M. Chesley, Esq.; co-chair, MDL 926, Plaintiffs' Steering Committee; Waite, Schneider, Bayless & Chesley Co., L.P.A.; 1513 Central Trust Tower; Fourth & Vine streets; Cincinnati, Ohio 45202; fax 513-621-6420.
 -0- 7/9/93
 /CONTACT: Margaret Moses Branch of the Branch Law Firm, 505-243-3501, for the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee/
 (MNTR)


CO: Mentor Corporation ST: Alabama IN: MTC SU:

AR -- CL017 -- 0120 07/09/93 19:14 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jul 9, 1993
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