In late September 2019, a Kansas judge terminated a breast implant lawsuit brought against Mentor Worldwide, a Johnson & Johnson company. In the lawsuit, two women claimed that Mentor’s breast implants caused them to develop multiple illnesses, including skin rashes, fatigue, and even a life-threatening staph infection. Mentor has faced additional breast implant lawsuits but has not lost in court as of September 2019.
Lawsuit Claimed Breast Implants Caused Serious Illnesses
Two women lost an important lawsuit regarding Mentor’s controversial breast implants in September 2019. A federal judge in Kansas dismissed claims that Mentor’s implants caused them to develop potentially deadly illnesses.
The women’s legal complaint stated that Mentor did not properly warn them of the dangers associated with its breast implants.
However, the judge concluded that Mentor did not violate any laws and met its duty of care by informing physicians about the health risks.
While shocking, this outcome is all too common. As of September 2019, judges have dismissed several other Mentor breast implant lawsuits — even though more women continue to fall ill.
Mentor is not the only company facing breast implant lawsuits, either. Other women have claimed Allergan breast implants caused them to develop injuries and illnesses — including breast implant-associated cancer.
Why Are Women Filing Breast Implant Lawsuits?
Breast implant lawsuits have emerged over the past decade because women’s implants — which they expected to work properly — have actually caused them dangerous health problems.
Health problems associated with Mentor breast implants include:
- Chest pain
- Hair loss
- High blood pressure
- Skin rashes
In the most recent lawsuit against Mentor, both women claimed their health issues started after they received their breast implants.
Both women later had their implants removed, and while some of their health problems cleared up, others did not.
One of the women claimed her breast implants nearly killed her. Six months after receiving her implants, she was hospitalized for sepsis (the body’s overreaction to an infection) and a staph infection that threatened her life.
Breast Implant Cancer Risk
While not reported in any Mentor breast implant lawsuits, some women can develop cancer from their breast implants as well.
Officially known as breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL), breast implant cancer occurs when fluid accumulates between scar tissue and the breast implant after surgery.
While the prognosis (disease outlook) is good for most patients, breast implant cancer can spread to lymph nodes, in some cases, and wreak havoc on the body from there. If the cancer is not treated early on, it can lead to death.
Why Was This Breast Implant Lawsuit Dismissed?
In the most recent Mentor lawsuit, the judge ruled that the women could not pursue the case under federal law for a few different reasons.
- The women live in states that follow the learned intermediary doctrine. Under this doctrine, companies like Mentor meet health care standards if they inform physicians of their products’ health risks. They are not required to warn consumers.
- The women stated that Mentor failed to warn them of the health risks they received their implants. However, the women did not identify any state laws that showed Mentor was required to warn them.
- Even if state laws were in effect, the women didn’t cite any federal laws that required Mentor to warn consumers directly.
Several other Mentor breast implant lawsuits have been dismissed for similar reasons. For example, in August 2019, a California judge terminated a lawsuit where four women claimed they got became ill from Mentor’s breast implants.
However, other breast implant manufacturers have been linked to cancer and now face lawsuits as a result.
In 2019, several types of Allergan breast implants were recalled by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) over a risk of cancer. Two Florida women filed a $5 Million dollar lawsuit against Allergan as a result of the recall. This case is still ongoing as of November 2019.
The Future of Mentor Breast Implant Lawsuits
Though there have not been any successful Mentor or Johnson & Johnson breast implant lawsuits at this time, women continue to take legal action against these companies. As long as reports of serious illnesses — including breast implant cancer — make headlines, more lawsuits are likely.
Companies like Mentor and Allergan have a duty to ensure all of their products’ possible health risks are communicated in proper ways. Unfortunately, as time has shown, some corporations care more about profits than their customers.
If you or a loved one is considering getting breast implants, do your research and consult with your doctor about any possible health risks.
Center for Devices and Radiological Health. (2019, September 12). Natrelle Manufactured Textured Breast Implants Recalled Due to Cancer Risk. Retrieved November 7, 2019, from https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/medical-device-recalls/allergan-recalls-natrelle-biocell-textured-breast-implants-due-risk-bia-alcl-cancer.
Field, E. (2019, September 24). J&J Unit Escapes Suit Over Breast Implant Warnings. Retrieved November 7, 2019, from https://www.law360.com/articles/1202233/j-j-unit-escapes-suit-over-breast-implant-warnings.
Food and Drug Administration. (2019, July 24). FDA takes action to protect patients from risk of certain textured breast implants; requests Allergan voluntarily recall certain breast implants and tissue expanders from market. Retrieved November 7, 2019, from https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-takes-action-protect-patients-risk-certain-textured-breast-implants-requests-allergan.
Miller, N. S. (2019, October 28). 2 Florida women file $5 million lawsuit over recalled Allergan breast implants. Retrieved November 7, 2019, from https://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/os-ne-allergan-breast-implant-class-action-lawsuit-20191028-i6vmlf5ujbd4pct57nwbpzzdui-story.html.