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:
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.