Siliconenzaak
by Bureau Clara Wichmann

About the lawsuit

There are 60,000 of us

Biocell breast implants manufactured by Allergan (McGhan/Inamed) have been banned in Europe since December 2018 for two reasons. The first reason is that these implants can cause a rare form of lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). Women with these types of implants are 466 times more likely to develop this disease. The second reason is that these implants may start leaking or sweating, causing many health problems.

In the Netherlands, approximately 60,000 women have Biocell implants, and so far several dozens of cases of BIA-ALCL have been reported. Allergan is letting these women down. Even women who are not ill yet, but who want to have their dangerous implants removed, have to pay for the operation themselves.

Bureau Clara Wichmann stands up for all these women. Through a collective lawsuit we are claiming compensation from Allergan. Other organisations in the Netherlands, such as the Meldpunt Klachten Siliconen (Silicone Complaints Center) and the Borstkankervereniging Nederland (Dutch Breast Cancer Association) are joining our initiative, and we hope you will join us too! Please register for the lawsuit, because together we are stronger!

Proceedings of the lawsuit

On December 1st 2021 we held Allergan liable. This means that we requested Allergan to pay for all the damages women have suffered as a result of their Biocell implants. If Allergan refuses to do so, Bureau Clara Wichmann will issue a summons. Allergan must then respond with a defense.

This summons is freely accessible and can be found on this website and on www.rechtspraak.nl. Other parties can issue a summons within three months. In case this happens, the court will determine which party is most apt to represent the aggrieved women.

The case against Allergan is complicated and therefore we expect it will take the court about two years before it comes to a decision.
The court will render a decision after a substantive treatment of the case and possibly one or more hearings. In this ruling, the court can either reject or grant Bureau Clara Wichmann’s claim. If the court grants the claim, it will determine the amount of compensation Allergan must pay to each woman.

What happens after the court’s ruling?

The court can (partially) reject or grant our claim. If the claim is granted, the court will determine the amount of compensation Allergan must pay to each woman.

  • If we win, you will receive compensation from Allergan. The amount of this compensation is determined by the court and will depend on your circumstances.
  • If we lose, you do not have to pay anything. We pursue this lawsuit on a no-cure-no-pay basis.

Is legal aid insurance mandatory?

You do not need to have legal aid insurance to participate in this lawsuit. Registration is free of charge for everyone.

We will claim the litigation costs from Allergan. The court may decide that Allergan does not have to pay these costs. In that case, we ask the court to deduct a small part of your compensation (with a maximum of 15%) to pay the litigation funder.

Do you have legal aid insurance? If you register with us before December 31st 2022, the insurance will cover the costs and you will receive your full compensation. You can inform your legal aid insurance that you are participating in this case, but this is not mandatory.

Legal steps

December 2021

Notice of liability:

We hold Allergan liable for the damage that has been caused and will be suffered by their defective implants. This way, Allergan knows that we hold them responsible for this damage. The statute of limitations has also been put to an end by doing so.
December 2021

March 2022

Response to Notice of liability

from Allergan. Allergan lets us know what they think about the fact that we hold them responsible for the damage. Had Allergan (partially) agreed to this, we could have settled out of court.

Allergan has indicated that it is not responsible for the damages.
In our opinion they are, so that is why we are now moving forward to step 3;

March 2022

June – December 2022

Summons:

This is a legal document that we first send to Allergan and then to court, with which the lawsuit officially starts. Since the lawsuit is a collective one, the summons is public (of course without names and details of the aggrieved women). After the summons has been issued, other foundations or associations are given three months to also issue a summons if they wish.

June – December 2022

2023

Statement of response:

This is the legal document in which Allergan writes down their defence. They send this to court and to (the lawyer of) Bureau Clara Wichmann, being the representative of all aggrieved women.
2023

2023

Admissibility and “Exclusive representative”

The court examines whether Bureau Clara Wichmann is best suited to represent all women as their exclusive representative. The expertise and experience of the directors and the (other) activities of Bureau Clara Wichmann are taken into account. In addition, the court wants to see whether Bureau Clara Wichmann is supported by the aggrieved women. That is why it is important that women register on the website siliconenzaak.nl and take part in the lawsuit;
2023

2023-2024

Substantive treatment:

Since the lawsuit at issue is complicated, the court will treat all arguments that are important in the case. There will probably be several hearings in which both Bureau Clara Wichmann and Allergan will explain their positions in court. Written documents will also be exchanged during this phase. In these writings Bureau Clara Wichmann and Allergan can react to each other. During this phase the court can give assignments to both parties and/or take decisions about parts of the case. These decisions are recorded in an interlocutory judgement. The court may also hear witnesses or experts;

2023-2024

2025

Verdict:

The court has reached a decision in the silicone lawsuit, after carefully considering all written documents and stories at the hearings. The verdict contains both this decision and all of the court’s considerations;

2025

Appeal:

If either Bureau Clara Wichmann or Allergan does not agree with the court’s ruling, they can appeal it at the Amsterdam Court of Appeal. Another judge will then review the case.