TUV Rheinland sentenced by a new court in PIP breast implants case

PRESS RELEASE

Thursday, November 29, 2018, Paris

 

PIP breast implants case: the Nanterre Court orders TUV to compensate Swedish patients following the decision of the Court of Cassation

 

By a decision handed down on Thursday 29 November, the Nanterre Regional Court (Tribunal de Grande Instance) ordered the German certifier TUV Rheinland to compensate Swedish victims of PIP implants.

 

This judgment confirms the hope that is being rekindled for many victims around the world. We welcome this fifth conviction of TUV in this case,” said Cédric Joachimsmann, manager of PIPA. As a reminder, the Toulon Commercial Court convicted the German company three times in 2013 and 2017, and in Spain a court in Valencia also confirmed its civil liability.

 

This judgment is an extension of the intervention of PIPA, represented by French lawyer Olivier Aumaître, on behalf nearly 20,000 victims since 2011. The work of PIP recently led the French Supreme Court to open the way to the final conviction of the certifier, in the so-called TUV1 procedure. The PIPA association is delighted that its action since 2011, and that the favourable decisions obtained against TUV, continue to benefit women with PIP implants.

 

The arguments developed over the past eight years by PIPA now seem to be heard by all French courts, even if the judgments are not delivered at the same pace and in a completely harmonious manner.

While the Nanterre Court ordered TUV to compensate 400 Swedish patients, the terms of the sentence imposed are less favourable to victims than the decisions handed down by the Toulon Commercial Court.

This is due to the fact that this procedure in Nanterre was not followed by PIPA/Olivier AUMAITRE but by another law firm, which did not consult Olivier Aumaître, which is regrettable.

Indeed:

  • Although the Nanterre court was seized at the same time as the Toulon court, it rendered its decision in 4 years, against 2 years in Toulon;
  • The Nanterre court has capped TUV’s sentence at 80% of part of the damages which have been fixed at 7300 euros as final compensation for each patient; whereas in Toulon, the victims will be entitled after expert appraisal to total compensation for an amount which may be twice as high (for example for anxiety damage, the Nanterre court awarded 1440 euros against 3000 euros in Toulon)
  • Above all, the Nanterre judgment does not have provisional enforcement, which means that TUV, which is going to appeal, has no obligation to pay, whereas in Toulon, a provision of 3000 euros, payable immediately was ordered;

 

These 400 Swedish patients will therefore have to wait until the end of the call (at least 2 years) to hope to receive compensation (even though they have been waiting for 4 years already): while the Swedish patients represented by PIPA have already received 3000 euros in TUV 2 and TUV 3 in Toulon.

The Toulon procedure for which Olivier Aumaitre is in charge is therefore the best option.

 

“In the context of Implant Files, the confirmation of the responsibility of one of the main notified bodies in Europe reinforces our conviction,” says Cedric Joachimsmann. “Only heavy financial consequences will force medical device companies to self-regulate,” added Mr Aumaître. It is to be hoped that the sums involved will encourage TUV and all certifying bodies to change their practices. With 400,000 women affected and an average estimated compensation of between €10,000 and €20,000, the PIP case could theoretically cost the German group’s insurers nearly €6 billion. This is an incentive for the latter to respect its obligation of vigilance, which was duly reminded by the Supreme Court.

 

“However, it must be stressed that this compensation route was only made possible thanks to the intervention of private economic actors,” says Olivier Aumaitre. It is indeed the distributors of PIP implants, who are also victims deceived by the TUV certification, who are at the origin of the action against the latter. “If they had not decided to devote their last resources to challenging the German quality assurance giant eight years ago, everything suggests that TUV would have come out of it cheaply,” adds the lawyer from the PIPA association. The situation has now completely shifted in favour of the victims.

 

This new episode only highlights the need for an European compensation fund for victims of CE-marked medical devices, as we call for in a petition launched several weeks ago. The final condemnation, now almost certain of TUV, makes the creation of such a fund all the more relevant: it could advance the amounts of compensation immediately to the victims, with the serenity of knowing that in the end it will be the responsible entities who will pay and not the taxpayers. “Patients often lack the resources and skills to take appropriate legal action. However, a compensation fund, which act in court on behalf of the victims, would fight on equal terms with the commercial companies that must be implicated,” concludes Mr Aumaître.

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/