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GLOBAL BREAST IMPLANT SETTLEMENT NEGOTIATIONS CONDUCTED IN SECRET

 WAYNE, Pa., April 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Secret negotiations to settle all lawsuits involving silicone breast implants have been under way since last November and a proposal is now on the table, according to a story in this week's Mealey's Litigation Report: Breast Implants.
 U.S. Judge Sam Pointer of Birmingham, Ala., who presides over more than 4,000 implant cases consolidated in federal court, has called an impromptu meeting before him Friday to discuss the settlement.
 Co-chairs of the federal plaintiffs' implant steering committee -- Ralph Knowles of Doffermyer, Shields & Canfield of Atlanta and Stanley Chesley of Waite, Schneider, Bayless & Chesley of Cincinnati -- are leading the negotiations with Dow Corning Corp. and Baxter Healthcare of a global opt-out settlement of all cases. Other manufacturers are expected to join in the settlement. (Note: "Opt out" means attorneys would have the option of trying their cases separately rather than participating in the settlement.)
 Separately, another member of the plaintiffs' committee has been negotiating a limited fund class with defendant Mentor Corp. to settle all national implant cases. One source told Mealey's that Mentor has agreed to put up $20 million and transfer all rights it may have against Dow Corning. "The Mentor settlement, which may be an opt-out agreement," one attorney said, "really means you have to opt in because Mentor won't have any money left."
 Vehement opposition is expected from attorneys in Texas, California and New York, among other states. One Texas plaintiff attorney said he would not trust any settlement in which "women's rights are negotiated by people who do not represent them." A California attorney said a settlement may eventually happen but not anytime soon, adding there is going to be "big opposition."
 According to Karen Storey, editor of Mealey's Litigation Report: Breast Implants, the global settlement would consist of a matrix for injuries resulting from implants -- from fatigue and joint pain to scleroderma or lupus. The lowest dollar recovery would be $100,000 and the highest $2 million. Separate schedules for claims of implant rupture, emotional distress and for explanation are proposed.
 "Many attorneys are cautious and don't want to settle prematurely," Storey said. "Attorneys whose cases may result in big awards will not want to settle, while others with marginal cases will look at a settlement more favorably. A big concern is that by choosing not to settle, claimants may find the manufacturers have no money left to pay judgments by the time their cases get to trial."
 /delval/
 -0- 4/7/93
 /CONTACT: Karen Storey of Mealey Publications, 215-688-6566/


CO: Mealey Publications ST: Pennsylvania IN: PUB SU:

MJ-MK -- PH021 -- 3961 04/07/93 17:52 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 7, 1993
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