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A recently filed product liability lawsuit claims that recalled Allergan Biocell breast implants increase the risk of anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) by a factor of ten when compared to other implants.
The complaint (PDF) was filed by Sarah Beckcom late last month in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, indicating that Allergan Inc. conducted a “disinformation campaign,” which hid the link between its Biocell breast implant and lymphoma that may develop in the tissue surrounding the textured device.
Over the past year, dozens of breast implant lymphoma lawsuits have been filed against Allergan, after federal regulators concluded that the company’s Biocell line of textured implants were linked to nearly all cases of ALCL that has been reported among women after receiving breast implants.
In July 2019, the manufacturer was forced to issue a worldwide breast implant recall, impacting the entire Biocell line of implants
Beckcom, of Arkansas, indicates that she was implanted with an Allergan Biocell Textured Breast Implant in May 2013. Following the recall, she underwent surgery to have it removed in February 2019, and had to pay out-of-pocket to have the breast implant removed, since Allergan has refused to reimburse consumers for removal the recalled implants.
The lawsuit calls for the manufacturer to pay for the previous medical bills and future medical monitoring as well since she is now at risk of developing breast implant-associated ALCL.
Beckcom maintains that Allergan knew long before the recall, and even before she received her own breast implant, about the risk of a rare form of cancer linked to the Biocell design.
“Because of the processes used in their manufacture, Allergan’s Biocell Textured Breast Implants increase the likelihood of a woman developing BIA-ALCL dramatically from other textured breast implants on the market, with one study finding that the nexus jumps approximately 10 times from other products on the US marketplace,” the lawsuit states. “Despite the grave risks posed by its Biocell Textured Breast Implants, and the ready possibility of a safer product, Allergan has for decades orchestrated a disinformation campaign aimed at discrediting and concealing the clearly established link between the occurrence of BIA-ALCL and the presence of an Allergan Biocell Textured Breast Implant. This was done in the interest of placing Allergan’s pecuniary interest and profits over public safety, so that Allergan could continue to sell and distribute a dangerous product into the marketplace at great financial gain to the company.”
The case filed by Beckcom 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.