Sybil Niden Goldrich
Ernest Hornsby, Esq.
Dianna Pendleton-Dominguez, Esq.
CLAIMANTS' ADVISORY COMMITTEE E-NEWSLETTER
Volume 2, No. 1, January 5, 2005
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE!
Welcome to the 9th e-newsletter (Vol. 2, No. 1) from the Claimants' Advisory Committee (CAC) in the Dow Corning bankruptcy Settlement Plan. You were sent a copy of the newsletter because our records show that you requested to be on the mailing list. If you wish to unsubscribe, click here. If you would like to read prior CAC e-newsletters, they are available on the CAC website by clicking on "Electronic Newsletter." We urge you to also visit the Settlement Facility website (www.dcsettlement.com) and CAC website (www.tortcomm.org) on a regular basis to download or view relevant documents and read updates and new information. To contact the CAC, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org or send a letter via U.S. mail to: P.O. Box 61406, Houston, Texas 77208-1406.
We are not able to answer questions about a claimant's individual status because we do not have access to individual claimant files. All questions about claim status should be directed to the Settlement Facility at email@example.com or by calling 1-866-874-6099.
1. ORLANDO CLAIMANT MEETING RESCHEDULED FOR JANUARY 21, 2005
Because the claimant meeting scheduled for Orlando, Florida in September 2004 was cancelled due to the active hurricane season, the Claimants' Advisory Committee has rescheduled the meeting for Friday, January 21, 2005 at the following location:
Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport
9300 Airport Blvd.
Orlando, FL 32827
The presentation and Q&A session will be from 9 am to 12 noon Eastern Time. All claimants and attorneys representing claimants are welcome to attend. We look forward to seeing you there. If you are planning to attend, we encourage you to send an RSVP to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. RECENT ORDERS ENTERED BY THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Copies of the following orders can be viewed at the CAC's website at www.tortcomm.org under Court Orders or at the District Court's website (you can access the link to the Court's website on the CAC's website).
The CAC is currently working to file motions with the District Court to resolve these two outstanding issues. If your claim or that of your clients falls within one of the two situations described above, please contact us with information about the details of the release at email@example.com.
- Returning Expedited Release Checks - on December 22, 2004, the District Court entered an Agreed Order that allows claimants to return their Expedited Release payment in certain circumstances. The CAC and Debtor's Representatives agreed to the following Plan interpretation that is contained in the Agreed Order:
"A claimant may return an uncashed Expedited Release check or draft and apply for a Disease (or Medical Condition) payment provided that (1) the uncashed check or draft is returned to the Settlement Facility within 60 days of the date of its issuance, (2) the returned uncashed check or draft is accompanied by a statement from the Claimant or her attorney withdrawing the Expedited Release claim, and (3) the Claimant has not previously withdrawn an Expedited Release claim."
- Order Reauthorizing 2004 Budget - on December 22, 2004, the District Court entered an Order that reauthorized the 2004 Escrow Budget (Effective Date) which had been approved on November 17, 2003 for the 2004 year.
- Procedures to Resolve Disputes involving Release of Claims Against Dow Corning - on December 23, 2004, the District Court entered a Stipulation agreed to by the CAC and Debtor's Representatives that provides a means for claimants to dispute a release that they previously signed against Dow Corning or for claims that were resolved by final judgment, dismissal or order ("the Release Procedures"). We urge you to download and review the procedures if you wish to dispute a release that you may have signed against Dow Corning. The Release Procedures apply to most situations; however they do not apply to the following two situations:
i. Claims alleging that the Plan does not bar recovery under the Settlement Option where an unrepresented claimant signed a release in exchange for payment of less than $15,000 during the period 1992 through May 15, 1995. These are claims that may have been released in reliance on the original global settlement and Judge Pointer's order that such releases would not bar a participant from eligibility from participating in the original global settlement. The date ends with the filing of Dow Corning's bankruptcy petition on May 15, 1995; and
ii. Claims alleging that the release was provided in connection with the Dow Corning Removal Assistance Program.
3. MOTIONS FILED WITH THE DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
4. EUROPEAN EXPLANT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
- Motion for Disclosure of Substantive Criteria - this motion was filed by the CAC on December 8, 2004 (as reported in our last e-newsletter). The CAC agreed to extend the response time of the Debtor's Representatives (Dow Corning) until January 20, 2005 so that the two parties could continue to discuss potential agreement and proposed resolution of the issue to the District Court. A similar motion was filed with the District Court supervising the MDL 926 Revised Settlement Program.
- Motion of Korean Claimants - on December 14, 2004, counsel representing Korean claimants filed a motion with the District Court asking that the Settlement Facility locate and pay for Qualified Medical Doctors in Korea to conduct disease evaluations for Korean claimants. A copy of the motion is on the CAC's website under "Other Downloads" along with the response of Dow Corning. The CAC has requested an extension until January 11, 2005 to respond to the motion.
- Tissue Expanders and Tolling - these motions remain pending with the District Court.
- Substantial Contribution Claims - the deadline to file a claim for "substantial contribution" was January 3, 2005. We will update you on this issue in future newsletters. According to the Order entered by the District Court, various parties have until February 18, 2005 to respond with comments and/or objections on the applications.
The CAC has been informed that the doctor listed below is willing to perform explantation surgery for women with Dow Corning breast implants who are in Class 6.1 for the compensation amount listed for Class 6.1 Claimants ($3,000 U.S.). He has indicated that he will not charge any additional costs provided that no new implants are inserted. The doctor's office has translation abilities for the following languages: French, English, Italian, Russian, Turkish, Arabic and German. The doctor's information is:
Dr. Thomas Winzen
Dr. Hermann Wiebringhaus
St. Barbara Klinik Hamm
Am Heessener Wald 1
59073 Hamm, Germany
Telephone from anywhere in Europe: 0049 2381 681 1300
The CAC does not make any representations about this doctor's skill or abilities.
5. JOINT MEETING SCHEDULED FOR SETTLEMENT FACILITY AND MDL 926
The District Courts supervising the Settlement Facility-Dow Corning Trust (Honorable Denise Page Hood) and the MDL-926 Revised Settlement Program (Honorable U.W. Clemon) have scheduled a joint meeting for the parties in the two settlements for January 28, 2005. Unless the parties are able to resolve the issues prior to the joint meeting with the Courts, it is our understanding that there will be a discussion of the issue of the conflicting product identification standards for Dow Corning breast implants that are contained in the two settlements. (For more information about this, please see our E-Newsletter dated September 21, 2004.) Also, there are similar motions pending before the two Courts regarding the CAC / MDL 926 Plaintiffs' request for disclosure of substantive criteria to qualify (as noted above), and we hope to discuss that issue with the Courts as well. We will keep you updated in future newsletters.
6. REMINDER TO COMPLETE THE LITIGATION QUESTIONNAIRE
For those claimants who elected litigation, you must complete the Litigation Questionnaire and mail it postmarked on or before February 28, 2005. You can access a copy of the Questionnaire on the CAC's website (you can now download the Questionnaire) or you can complete a copy of the Questionnaire on-line at www.implantquestionnaire.org (this website is maintained by the Litigation Facility). ONLY OPT-OUT CLAIMANTS (AND CERTAIN CLAIMS CHANNELED TO THE LITIGATION OPTION) NEED TO COMPLETE THE QUESTIONNAIRE.
7. BREAST IMPLANT LITIGATION GROUP MEETING
The Breast Implant Litigation Group (BILG) of the American Trial Lawyers Association (ATLA) has scheduled a meeting of attorneys representing breast implant claimants for Tuesday, February 1, 2005. The meeting will be held in conjunction with the annual ATLA Winter Convention in Palm Springs, California. The meeting is open to any attorney who is a member of ATLA and a member of BILG (you can join BILG at the meeting for a cost of $50). We are working with the leadership of BILG - Karen Read - to coordinate a presentation or discussion of settlement and litigation issues from representatives of the CAC and Opt-Out Claimants. If you are interested in attending, please send an RSVP to Karen Read at firstname.lastname@example.org and copy the CAC at email@example.com.
8. QUALITY ASSURANCE COMMITTEE MEETING
On November 3, 2004, the District Court entered an Order appointing a Quality Assurance Committee to work with the Claims Administrator on issues of reliability and quality control of claims submitted, as required by Section 5.04 of the Settlement Facility and Fund Distribution Agreement. The first meeting of the Committee was on December 15th, at which time the committee reviewed examples of claims where questions had been raised by reviewers at the Settlement Facility. At all times, claimant confidentiality was protected and was not disclosed to the committee members who are not part of the Settlement Facility staff. The work of the Quality Assurance Committee is ongoing.
9. SETTLEMENT FACILITY ISSUES
We have received a large number of inquiries about the timeliness of claims processing and payments. The CAC has shared your frustrations and concerns with the Court, Finance Committee and others, and we are reviewing the current situation with all of the parties involved to determine what can be done to expedite processing and payment. We appreciate your patience and especially your cooperation in informing us of problems and concerns as they arise. Your feedback and experiences with the claims processing are important to us and helps us pinpoint and hopefully fix problems as they may occur. Please continue to keep us informed. Several recent issues have been brought to our attention:
MDL 926 Claims Office Has Asserted Liens Against Dow Corning Claimants -- We understand that the MDL 926 Claims Office has asserted liens against some claimants in the Dow Corning Settlement Option. We are told that the liens are (or should be) only for those claimants who recovered 100% from the Revised Settlement Program and alleged in that settlement that they did not have a Dow Corning breast implant. As a result, they received 100% of their approved payment in the Revised Settlement Program. Now, in the Dow Corning bankruptcy case, some of these claimants who recovered 100% in the Revised Settlement Program have now asserted a claim alleging that they have or had a Dow Corning breast implant. There may be understandable reasons why this may have occurred, i.e., a claimant's implant has only now been identified as a Dow Corning product whereas it was not identified as such when a claim was asserted in the Revised Settlement Program in 1996.
We have been informed that some liens were filed by the MDL 926 Claims Office and sent to claimants in error. If you have received a notice of a lien filed against your claim by the MDL 926 Claims Office and believe this lien was inappropriately asserted, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Requests for Re-Review of Your Claim -- If you submitted additional information to cure a deficiency on your claim, i.e., a "re-review," you should receive a response on your re-review from the Settlement Facility within 21 days. (Read a discussion of this topic in the CAC's E-Newsletter dated October 1, 2004). Getting a prompt answer on your re-review request is very important since there are short cure deadlines in the Plan and, if you do not cure your deficiency within the applicable deadline, your claim will be permanently barred. If your re-review request has been pending for more than 21 days or if you are experiencing any difficulty getting a response on your request for a re-review, please let us know at email@example.com.
Notice of Intent Claims - the CAC and Debtor's Representatives are working with the Claims Administrator to complete the review of the Notice of Intent surveys and underlying documents. Once this is completed, we will advise you of the results. At this time, we still do not know whether Dow Corning will continue to pursue their position that unmatched Notice of Intent claims may be barred from participating.
10. FILING DEADLINES FOR CLAIMS
Please mark your calendar with the claim submission deadlines. Please note that most of these deadlines mean that your claim forms and materials must be received by the appropriate entity by the posted deadline. Please mail all forms early enough so that they are received by the deadline listed below.
||Type of Deadline
|February 28, 2005
||Deadline for Opt-Out Claimants to postmark their "Notice of Intent to Litigate / Claimant Questionnaire" and return it to the Litigation Facility.
|June 1, 2006
||Rupture Claim submission deadline for Classes 5, 6.1 and 6.2
|June 1, 2006
||Silicone Material Claim submission deadline - Class 7. All claims for Disease or Expedited Release must be submitted by this date. The Fund will close permanently and no new claims will be allowed after this date.
|June 1, 2006
||Covered Other Products submission deadline - Classes 9, 10.1 and 10.2. All claims for Expedited Release or a Medical Condition must be submitted by this date. The Fund will close permanently and no new claims will be allowed after this date.
|June 1, 2007
||Expedited Release submission deadline - Classes 5, 6.1 and 6.2
|June 1, 2014
||Explant Claims submission deadline for Classes 5, 6.1 and 6.2
|June 1, 2019
||Disease Claim submission deadline for Classes 5, 6.1 and 6.2
11. DEFICIENCY AND CURE DEADLINES
If you receive a Notification of Status letter from the Settlement Facility stating that you have a deficiency in your claim submission, please note that there are very short deadlines to cure most deficiencies. The deadlines are listed below:
||Deadline to Cure Deficiency
|Proof of Manufacturer
||No deadline but your claim for Explant, Rupture, Medical Condition or Disease will not be reviewed until you first have acceptable proof of an eligible implant
||6 months from date of Notification of Status letter
||6 months from date of Notification of Status letter
(Classes 9, 10.1 and 10.2)
|6 months from date of Notification of Status letter
||1 year from date of Notification of Status letter
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