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After receiving Allergan breast implants that were later recalled due to the risk that the design may cause the development of lymphoma in the surrounding tissue, a Florida breast cancer survivor indicates that the manufacturer should be required to pay for the breast implant removal and replacement procedure.
The complaint (PDF) was filed last week in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey by Tanya Cody, who received Allergan Biocell textured breast implants in December 2015, following a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery during a battle with breast cancer.
Although the product was marketed as safe, Allergan issued breast implant recalls last year for all versions of the macrotextured Biocell design, which was linked to nearly every known case of a rare type of cancer, now commonly known as breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL).
Cody has not been diagnosed with the breast implant lymphoma, but had the implants removed to minimize her future risk However, according to the lawsuit, Allergan has refused to pay for the costs associated with the breast implant removal.
“Plaintiff did not become aware of the risk of developing BIA-ALCL from her Biocell implants until 2019,” the lawsuit states. “Due to this risk, Plaintiff underwent explantation surgery in December 2019 to have her capsules and Biocell implants removed, necessitating invasive, disfiguring surgery, at significant expense.”
Allergan has faced growing litigation since the recall, including a number of breast implant lymphoma lawsuits brought by women diagnosed with BIA-ALCL, as well as individual actions for women who required removal of the breast implants and class action claims for women who need future medical monitoring.
Cody presents claims of strict liability defective manufacturing, negligent manufacturing, negligence, failure to warn, negligent failure to warn, negligent misrepresentation and breach of warranty. She seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
The complaint will be consolidated with other similar lawsuits filed throughout the federal court system, which are centralized for pretrial proceedings before U.S. District Judge Brian R. Martinotti in the District of New Jersey, as part of a federal MDL, or multidistrict litigation.
Given common questions of fact and law raised throughout the litigation, it is expected that Judge Martinotti will select a small group of representative claims for early trial dates to help the parties gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout the litigation. However, as more women discover that they have BIA-ALCL or decide to have the breast implants removed, the size and scope of the litigation is expected to continue to expand over the coming months.