PIP implants case: TUV is trying to scare patients by sending useless notifications through bailiffs

Further to several articles published in the British press, we strongly contest the fact that TUV would have been forced to send bailiffs to patients who are suing them before French courts.

To fully understand how TUV’s justification is misleading, it is necessary to reframe the judicial history and the procedural context of the PIP lawsuit.

1/ Judicial lawsuits initiated by Olivier Aumaitre, lawyer at Paris bar, in PIP case

Mr. Aumaitre is at the origin of legal proceedings (TUV1, TUV2, TUV3) against the German certifier TUV RHEINLAND. He initialed them in 2011 and they enabled patients from all affected countries to receive a first compensation.

We already represent 17 000 victims and among them a significant number from UK and Ireland. Every day new ones ask us to act on their behalf and seek compensation in partnership with several law firms and consumers associations.

To date, five separate judgements have sentenced TUV to compensate victims: three decisions from the Commercial Court of Toulon (TUV1, TUV2&3) , one decision from the regional court of Nanterre and one decision from the regional Court of Valence.  The French supreme court and the European court of Justice have also ruled in favor of victims.

 

2/ TUV2 and TUV3 proceedings

On 20 January 2017, TUV was ordered by the Toulon Commercial Court to compensate 20,000 victims of PIP implants,  including 9000 British and Irish ladies. TUV appealed this decision.

Mr Aumaitre and PIPA team defend women in all phases of appeal and expertise in these so-called TUV2 and TUV3 proceedings.

More specifically,

  • We are in charge of the distribution of funds allocated to patients in 2017. We are in daily contacts with relevant authorities for that purpose.
  • We are monitoring the judicial expertise that has been ordered by the Court to assess the whole damages suffered by victims and thus allow each one to receive a full compensation. A meeting attended by Mr Aumaitre recently took place in Toulon on the matter
  • PIPA team is in constant and close contact with judicial courts in Toulon, Aix and Paris.
  • Several procedural meetings were held in Aix-en-Provence and in Paris in which Mr. Aumaitre’s clients were present or duly represented. A meeting attended by Mr Aumaitre recently took place before the Court of Appeal of Paris (TUV1).

Everyone knows that Mr. Aumaitre represents the largest number of victims. He is perfectly identified by the Court as such, as well as by TUV’s lawyer with whom he regularly corresponds, directly or through local correspondant.

We liaise with all victims through our platform PIPA (messages, newsletter…) and thus we could inform them about TUV’s strategy and the fact that they were sending notifications by bailiffs or court officials.

 

3/ Regarding the case pending before the Court of Appeal of Aix en provence (TUV2/TUV3).

In 2017, it was necessary, before any new judicial step, to secure the payment process of the compensation awarded in 2017. TUV could not expect the trial to continue without first compensating all the victims as it was sentenced in the first instance. Part of these payments were only executed three weeks ago by TUV…

In 2018 all the French courts hearing the PIP case – including the Court of Appeal of Aix-en-Provence – decided to await the decision of the French Supreme Court in the matter in the called TUV1 proceeding. It was agreed that the lawyers would register after this decision, rendered on 10 October 2018 and which marked a decisive victory for the victims.

At no time did the Court of Appeal of Aix en Provence en Provence enjoin TUV to serve its appeal on the clients of Mr Aumaitre or, to our knowledge, on those of other lawyers. TUV has never been forced by any legal  reason to send justice officers to patients. TUV has no obligation to do so and perfectly knows that Mr Aumaitre represent victims. TUV’s local correspondent has been in contact with Mr Aumaitre’s local correspondent for months.

Nevertheless  TUV decided in early 2018 to send various letters to victims to make them believe that they were unrepresented and to force them to register with the Court of Appeal.

This can in no way be justified by the fact that a particular lawyer has officially registered or not with the Court of Appeal of Aix en Provence. Moreover, TUV has issued notices by bailiff to patients whose lawyers had already been registered…

In TUV1, before the Court of Appeal of Paris, in spite of the fact that Mr Aumaitre was the first lawyer who registered few months ago, TUV asked bailiffs to make notification to Mr Aumaitre’s client as if they were not represented and asking them to register within 15 days (whereas registration was already done since months)

The decision to deliver such acts to patients by bailiff is solely the result of TUV’s deliberate strategy to frighten the victims and to cause disorder among them

After TUV Rheinland admitted in April 2019 the competence of French judges and the application of French law (they had been challenging this issue for 9 years), victims’ lawyers including Aumaitre began to register in the Court of Aix-en-Provence.

Since that time, whereas a judicial timetable has been scheduled by Court in accordance with all lawyers involved (including Mr Aumaitre and TUV’s lawyer), and despite the fact that patient’s registration are in progress, TUV took again the decision to notify writ of summons through bailiff to victims…

The sending of bailiffs by TUV was obviously completely unnecessary. It has only served to deter new victims from pursuing them in French courts.

The German group also probably hopes, by doing this to weaken the victims defence.

It’s important to underline that victims who received notification don’t have to do anything (of course they don’t have to respond neither to attend any hearing in France). We represent them.

 

4/ TUV’s strategy is a failure

It’s not the first time that TUV uses bailiff for tactical reason in order to intimidate the victims. TUV always proceed like this when it knows that the situation is critical for itself.

It is  regrettable that TUV continues such a strategy which has proven to be a complete failure after so many courts found them liable.

TUV would be better advised to spend these millions of euros to help victims to repair the consequences of its breaches.

We find it unacceptable and ridiculous that TUV, which was found liable in this scandal, dares to sue the victims as if they were guilty.

TUV’s reputation is not enhanced by such provocative behaviour, which many patients consider malicious.

Surprisingly, the German quality assurance giant has difficulties with the notion of obligation. TUV had no obligation to issue documents by bailiff to patients. On the other hand, in its decision ruled in 2018, the French Supreme Court reminded TUV that as part of its mission as a notified body, it had an obligation of vigilance. Therefore, it was required, to check final products, purchases of raw materials and to carry out unannounced visits to PIP. TUV having failed to comply with all these obligations, its final conviction is no longer in doubt.

We understand that TUV is in panic, especially since it has been involved in the past in other scandals related to its certifications (Rana Plaza building whose collapsing in Bangladesh killed 1000 workers, lead mine La Oroya in Peru which poisoned thousands people).

This should not allow TUV to take victims in hostage and to have  them undergo new stress.

TUV’s strategy of intimidation will have no effect. We will carry on representing patients, in order to obtain complete compensation on their behalf.

Whatever TUV could expect, we will carry out our fight for justice and complete our task on behalf of all women we represent.

We therefore suggest all victims to demand full compensation by joining our legal action. They can do so very easily by registering on our PIPA website

AFTER THE DEATH OF JEAN-CLAUDE MAS, THE CASE ABOUT PIP IMPLANTS CONTINUES

The main protagonist in the criminal case of the PIP implant scandal died without having served the four-year prison sentence ruled against him for fraud.

He will also not be tried for assault and battery. This second criminal trial, in which other people are involved, will therefore take place, but without Jean-Claude Mas. PIPA lawyer, Olivier Aumaitre stated “We can only deplore the lack of progress in this criminal procedure, which began nine years ago, and which sees its main protagonist disappear before a trial has even begun“.

All the responsibilities have still not been established in this health scandal, where a French company has poisoned the entire planet with adulterated breast implants which were CE marked (European conformity), and certified by the German multinational TUV Rheinland.

The fight for the compensation of victims started in 2010 by Olivier Aumaître continues on the civil level. The death of the founder of PIP has no impact on the compensation proceedings against the certifier that are ongoing before the French courts.

The case recently underwent a procedural turnaround with the announcement by TUV that they agreed to be tried by the French courts and waived their right to request that the case be referred to the German courts.

Five duly reasoned court decisions have already ordered TUV Rheinland to compensate the victims (three judgments of the Toulon Commercial Court, one decision of the Nanterre Regional Court and one decision of the Spanish Court of Valencia).

The only isolated decision (rendered by the court of appeal of Aix en Provence in 2015) which, after an initial conviction, had incomprehensibly cleared TUV was annulled on 10th October 2018 by the Court of Cassation. The French Supreme court recalled that TUV was subject to an obligation of vigilance and that in the presence of indications of non compliance, TUV had to control the breast implants, purchases of raw materials and carry out unexpected visits. All these essential points had been ignored despite a devastating case.

It is now up to the Paris Court of Appeal to retry this case by setting guidelines for the compensation of patients.

The question is no longer that of identifying the liable body since the conviction of the certifier no longer seems to be in doubt, but that of the modalities of compensation and the time it will take.

For Olivier Aumaître “It will be important after several years of developments, and since the Court of Cassation has established principles, that a harmonised case-law be drawn up for the compensation of existing and future victims”.

It is recalled that thousands of new victims continue to join the action that Olivier Aumaître was the first to bring against TUV.

For Mr Aumaître, “The death of Jean-Claude Mas, and time that elapses, remind us of the urgent need to find a compensation solution for patients with PIP implants, either on a legal level or as part of the implementation of a compensation fund”.

PIPA will continue to help women around the world to obtain redress.

10th October 2018: a great victory for PIPA and PIP patients: the French Supreme Court (“Cour de cassation”) rules in favour of the victims and against the certificator TÜV RHEINLAND

PRESS RELEASE

Wednesday, October 10, 2018, Paris

PIP breast implants case: the decision of the French Supreme court confirms the responsibility of the certifier TUV Rheinland and gives hope to thousands of victims around the world

By an expected decision today, the French Supreme court (“Cour de cassation”) overturned the decision of the Court of Appeal which, incomprehensibly, had cleared the German certifier TUV Rheinland in 2015.

According to the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal neglected essential elements, and made a mistake in not holding TUV liable, despite the proof provided of the failure of its controls. The highest French court ruled in the same way as the judges of the Toulon Commercial Court who, on three occasions, ordered the German group to compensate PIP victims.

With this scathing disavowal of TUV’s strategy, the French Supreme Court is paving the way for the world’s largest collective trial.

This is a decisive step in the search for liability that three distributors had began eight years ago through their French lawyer Olivier Aumaitre. The latter has since founded an association bringing together more than 15,000 patients and a collective of international lawyers at the service of victims (PIPA – PIP Implant World Victims Association : www.pipaworld.com).

Several thousand new victims have already mandated PIPA to conduct new proceedings before the Commercial Court, the first hearing of which is scheduled for 17 December 2018.  PIP victims can join this legal action until that date.

For Olivier Aumaitre, at the origin of the proceedings against TUV, “the Court of Cassation renders a decision in accordance with the law, fair and consistent with the objective elements of the case which are devastating for TUV. It validates all the actions we have taken since 2010 and which we have pursued against all odds for the past 8 years in the interests of the victims”.

This is a victory not only for the victims but also for the European Union. This historic decision will force certifiers and their insurers to be particularly vigilant in their controls of medical devices. This self-regulation will have a virtuous effect by strengthening the safety of CE-marked products.

For Olivier Aumaitre, this is “a good decision for the consumer whose interests and health are protected by the European system and for the European economies, which are partly based on the reputation of CE marking“.

“This is a complete failure of the arrogant and threatening strategy of the German certifier, who showed a deep contempt for the victims, and who preferred to spend millions of euros unnecessarily on lawyers’ fees and on communication and denigration operations, rather than assume its responsibilities by repairing what was reparable,” said Mr. Aumaître, who is considering criminal action against TUV for attempting intimidation and blackmail of his clients.

We call on TUV to change its attitude and to grasp the hand offered from the beginning by the distributors. TUV must now immediately compensate the victims. Indeed, the pathologies developed by PIP patients are often heavy (inflammation of the lymph nodes, contamination of different organs by the blood, etc.). The longer we wait, the worse the situations get. If TUV has shown no empathy for these victims, it is to be hoped that the financial risk will make them see reason, as the final bill may increase over time,” adds Cedric Joachimsmann, a former distributor of PIP implants, who first held TUV Rheinland liable.

As the average compensation should be between €10,000 and €20,000 per patient, according to initial indications from the courts, the total bill should amount to €6 billion for TUV Rheinland.

We invite TUV to contribute the first billion to the European compensation fund that we are calling for in a petition. The majority of patients around the world still have to claim compensation. We intend to continue the fight, through the PIPA organization for the 400,000 victims around the world,” says Cedric Joachimsmann.

 Petition on Change.org:

https://chn.ge/2xItQRg

About PIPA :

PIPA is a digital platform designed to facilitate the handling of victims’ compensation claims and is supported by an international network of partner lawyers specializing in litigation. Tehy are the first to have initiated compensation proceedings in France for PIP implant victims.

Since 2010, this task force has represented and defended more than 15,000 PIP implant patients on all 5 continents and in 2017 obtained an order for TUV RHEINLAND to pay their clients a record provisional compensation of nearly 60 million euros.

In 2018, more than ever, the fight continues.

https://pipaworld.com/