CLAIMANTS' ADVISORY COMMITTEE
Dow Corning Breast Implant / Bankruptcy Settlement
Volume 14, No. 14, November 30, 2017
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Email: email@example.com or
Phone: (419) 394-0717 or
CAC Sybil Niden Goldrich
P.O. Box 665 Ernest Hornsby, Esq.
St. Marys, OH 45885 Dianna Pendleton-Dominguez, Esq.
STATUS OF PREMIUM PAYMENTS
Unfortunately, there are no updates on the status of making any further premium payments. The issue is fully briefed before the District Court. We do not know when, or whether, the Court will rule on the motion. If the Court approved the motion and authorizes payments, it is very likely that Dow Corning will appeal to the Court of Appeals, causing further delay. We will continue to remind the court about the status of this pending motion, but the court is not under a timeline to make a decision. We will continue to update you on the status of the motion.
We have received a number of inquiries about what will happen if the Court does not rule on the pending motion to authorize the remaining partial premium payments to those claimants who did not receive the first partial premium payment. At this point, the Settlement Facility will close to new claims on June 3, 2019. At that time, a neutral expert will evaluate all of the claims and final payouts and will issue a report to the parties and the Finance Committee. This process could take months to complete because the Settlement Facility must first review all the claims submitted. Once this process is near completion, recommendations can be made to the Court to authorize final Premium Payments. This means that final Premium Payments will most likely not be made until sometime in 2020.
COMMON BENEFIT PROGRAM'S BREAST IMPLANT FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM FOR EXPLANT
The Common Benefit Fund in MDL-926 administers a financial assistance program for women who want to have their breast implants removed. This program is not part of the Dow Corning Settlement Plan or the Revised Settlement Program in MDL 926. It is separate and independent of these settlements. If you are interested in this separate program, review the information below and go to http://explantassistance.com/ for more information. This is NOT part of the Dow Corning Settlement Plan. Remember to send your Notice of Intent form to P.O. Box 1028, Birmingham, AL 35201. Do not send it to the Settlement Facility.
WHAT CAN YOU DO BETWEEN NOW AND JUNE 3, 2019?
First and foremost, if you have a claim for benefits, such as an Increased Severity disease claim, or a claim for either Expedited Release or Disease, complete and sign the claim form and submit all of your supporting documents. Please note that there is not a claim form for Increased Severity claims. For this, simply send in your supporting records and a cover letter asking for an Increased Severity review. When you submit a Disease claim or a claim for Increased Severity, review the Disease Guidelines first to make sure you have all the necessary documents. The Disease Guidelines are available on the CAC website at: http://www.tortcomm.org/diseaseclaims.shtml.
Also, remember to submit a signed Proof of Manufacturer form and documents that show you have or had a Dow Corning breast implant (if you have not already done so).
If you have an outstanding deficiency in your claim and your cure deadline has not already expired, then you must fix this deficiency on or before June 3, 2019. This includes claims where there is a missing signature on a form, claims that need probate documents appointing an Executor or Representative, claims where the address is no longer current, and claims for women in Classes 6.1 or 6.2 that require a photographic ID such as a passport before payment can be made. If you have any question about the status of your claim, contact the Settlement Facility toll free at 1-866-874-6099 or send them an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Take action now. Do not wait until the last minute.
DO YOU NEED HELP FILING A DISEASE CLAIM?
The Settlement Plan does not require claimants to have an attorney to submit a claim. In fact, claims for Expedited Release do not allow attorney fees to be deducted from the award. Claimants with Disease claims -- including claims for Increased Severity disease - who are represented by an attorney knowledgeable about the Settlement Plan have, historically, had their disease claim approved more frequently than claimants who are unrepresented. Also, the experienced laws firms know how to handle deficiency notices and deadlines that could bar your claim if not addressed.
The CAC maintains a list of attorneys / law firms who are willing to represent claimants on Disease and Increased Severity disease claims. For more information, call the CAC at 419-394-0717 or send us an email at: email@example.com. We do not endorse any attorney or law firm or accept referral fees from any of these firms.
REASONS WHY CLAIMS ARE NOT APPROVED
There are certain "deficiencies" that prevent a claim from being approved or paid. Please review the common deficiencies below to make sure you submit all the information needed to have your claim approved:
● Missing probate information -- if a claimant is deceased, appropriate probate documents must be submitted showing the court appointment of an Executor or Administrator. Check with the Settlement Facility for what is needed before you submit your claim. Once the appropriate documents are provided, the Settlement Facility will issue a check to that person (and to the attorney of record if one is listed).
● Missing foreign identification -- if you are not a citizen of the United States, you must submit a photo ID such as a passport or national ID card to the Settlement Facility. If you do not do so, your claim cannot be paid.
● Claim form not signed -- all claim forms must be signed. The signature line is at the bottom of the last page of the claim form.
● The claimant has moved and cannot be located to send her payment. This also applies to the attorney of record. Please remember to update any change of information about your name, address, phone, email, or other information.
● For Disease claims: you do not need to prove that your breast implants caused your disease. However, eligible symptoms cannot be directly related to some other cause, such as a car accident.
Other common reasons Disease claims receive a deficiency notice:
● Not enough symptoms documented -- review the Guidelines posted online at http://www.tortcomm.org/diseaseclaims.shtml and make sure that your medical records contain all of the symptoms required to have your disease claim approved.
● Symptoms existed prior to the first breast implantation -- for a symptom to be counted as eligible, it must not be documented in your medical records before your first breast implant surgery.
● Medical records documenting the symptom were not submitted. Review the Guidelines carefully to make sure that all needed medical records are included in your claim, i.e., lab results, physician's notes, etc.
● There is conflicting information about your symptoms in your medical records.
● No disability statement is attached or no level of disability is noted in the medical records. The Disease Guidelines detail what is needed for each disease to qualify. Most diseases, such as Atypical Connective Tissue Disease (ACTD) require a disability statement. The CAC website also has a sample disability statement for ACTD online: http://www.tortcomm.org/submissionissues.shtml
If you have received a deficiency notice and need legal help to correct the deficiency, contact the CAC for a list of attorneys / law firms who are experienced in handling disease claims. You have one year from the date on your deficiency notice to correct the problem. Often, these deficiencies can be fixed but they take time to obtain the necessary documents or statements. Do not wait until the last minute to address the problem.
LAW FIRMS -- ANY UNCLAIMED FUNDS IN YOUR IOLTA / TRUST ACCOUNT MUST BE RETURNED TO THE SF-DCT WITHIN 180 DAYS FROM THE DATE ON THE CHECK IF THE DISTRIBUTION CANNOT BE MADE
Attention attorneys and law firms -- if you received a payment on behalf of a client from the SF-DCT, deposited this payment in your IOLTA / Trust account, and you have not been able to locate the client or distribute payment, then you must return the payment to the SF-DCT within 180 days from the date on the check. Pursuant to the Settlement Facility and Fund Distribution Agreement Article X Section 10.09, "all funds in the Settlement Facility are in the custody of the Court until the funds have actually been paid to and received by the Claimant (or a legally authorized recipient)."
We urge all law firms to review the funds in their IOLTA / Trust accounts to determine if any claim payments have been deposited but not paid out to the claimant. If so, you must return the FULL payment to the SF-DCT. You can then assert a lien for attorneys' fees and expenses from the claim payment, but this must be done in writing. The SF-DCT will then send you appropriate forms to file a lien and seek recovery for this and future payments made to the claimant.
CHECK OUT THE CAC'S WEBSITE AND FACEBOOK PAGE FOR INFORMATION, CLAIM FORMS, AND UPDATES
The CAC's website -- www.tortcomm.org -- has copies of all claim forms, orders, motions and pleadings, sample disability statements, and links to other websites. The CAC also has a Facebook page where we are trying to reach as many claimants and attorneys as possible to inform them about the June 3, 2019 deadline for the closing of the Settlement Facility and to find "lost" claimants who may have an approved payment. The Facebook page is at: Claimants' Advisory Committee, Dow Corning Breast Implant Settlement.
CLAIM PAYMENT UPDATES
An updated payment chart is available on the CAC website -- www.tortcomm.org. To date, the Settlement Facility has paid 136,542 approved claims totaling $1,347,145,613.
In addition, the Settlement Facility has $3,756,370 in "stale checks" for 1,098 claimants. This means that 1,098 claimants have moved or cannot be located and their payments cannot be made. Most of these claimants -- 813 -- have been approved for Expedited Release; however, there are 192 claimants who have an approved Disease payment but they cannot be located. It is very important to keep your address current with the Settlement Facility so that payments can reach you.
DEADLINE AND OTHER REMINDERS
KEEP CONTACT INFORMATION UPDATED WITH THE SETTLEMENT FACILITY: Keep all information regarding a claimant's name, address, phone number, email address, and attorney information current with the Settlement Facility. Attorneys and law firms should also keep their contact information current with the Settlement Facility. Many claimants have been approved for payments but they have moved and have not provided a current address. Send all updates to the Settlement Facility at: Settlement Facility, P.O. Box 52429, Houston, TX 77052 or by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
PROBATE INFORMATION (BENEFITS PAYABLE AFTER A CLAIMANT'S DEATH): If a claimant has died, her estate can receive the claimant's approved payments, but they must certain necessary documents from the probate court. For more information on what the Settlement Facility needs, contact them toll free at: 1-866-874-6099 or by email at email@example.com.
ATTORNEY FEE LIMITS AND EXPENSES: The Plan sets a cap on the attorney fees payable to your attorney (if you were represented individually on your claim). The fee limits are: 10% of the first $10,000; 22.5% of the next $40,000; and 30% of amounts in excess of $50,000. The Plan also lists the types of expenses that attorneys can charge. For more information on allowable fees and expenses, review the Claimant Information Guide at Section 11 (http://www.tortcomm.org/downloads/CIG_ENG_5.pdf.
EXPLANT ASSISTANCE: The Explant Assistance program in the Dow Corning Settlement Facility expired in 2014. In addition, the MDL 926 Revised Settlement Program that covered other manufacturers like Bristol, Baxter, and 3M closed in 2010 so there are NO explant benefits available from either settlement. HOWEVER, if you still are implanted and need financial assistance to have the breast implants removed, you may be eligible for some financial assistance from a separate program. Contact Jeff Condra at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Please mark your calendar with the following claim submission deadline. Please note that this deadline means that your claim forms and supporting documents must be postmarked on or before the posted deadline. Please mail all forms early enough so your claim will not be late.
Type of Deadline
June 3, 2019
Disease or Expedited Release Claim submission deadline for all claims in Classes 5, 6.1 and 6.2 (this deadline does NOT apply to Late Claimants)
Increased Severity claims in Disease Option 1 and Disease Option 2 for all approved disease claims in Classes 5, 6.1, and 6.2.
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 visit the CAC website (www.tortcomm.org) on a regular basis to download or view relevant documents and read updates and new information.
NOTICE: This document is copyrighted. You are not authorized to post it on any website without express, prior written permission of the Claimants' Advisory Committee.