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.
- 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