As the deadline looms to enter a $4.2 billion settlement against breast implant makers, many women are opting to file lawsuits of their own.
Registration for the settlement must be postmarked no later than today in order to qualify, according to the Alabama federal court where the settlement was approved last year.
While some rushed to beat the deadline, others said they would pursue their own claims against breast implant manufacturers, including Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., Baxter Healthcare Corp. and Dow Corning, which will fund more than half of the settlement.
“I don’t believe the settlement is really viable for me,” said Nancy Welch, 53, who claims three sets of leaking implants following a double mastectomy caused her memory and circulation problems. “It probably is for some people.”
The settlement’s critics have said about $200 billion is needed to properly compensate women who claim breast implants caused their health problems.
So far, about 348,000 women have registered to take part in the settlement. Their claims must first be validated by the court before they are eligible to receive payments ranging from $105,000 to $1.4 million, depending on their age and health.
Foreign women are eligible for 40 percent to 90 percent of the amounts granted to women living in the United States.
More than 11,000 women have opted to pursue their own cases.
“I’m not going to be swayed into something that isn’t going to work,” Welch said.
Some cases have already gone to court. In Houston earlier this month, jurors awarded one plaintiff and her family $5.2 million. But the other plaintiff in the case received nothing and is now barred from entering the settlement fund.