Dow Corning Bankruptcy Settlement
Volume 14, No. 6, May 17, 2017
Contact the CAC at: email@example.com or
phone: (419) 394-0717
fax: (419) 394-1748
CAC Sybil Niden Goldrich
P.O. Box 665 Ernest Hornsby, Esq.
St. Marys, OH 45885 Dianna Pendleton-Dominguez, Esq.
APPLYING FOR AN “ATYPICAL CONNECTIVE TISSUE DISEASE” (ACTD) CLAIM WITH THE SETTLEMENT FACILITY
In the last e-newsletter, we highlighted how to apply for an Atypical Connective Tissue Disease (ACTD) claim. This is the disease that most women are approved for by the Settlement Facility. Eight years ago, we prepared and posted on our website “Guidelines” that detail the eligible symptoms, acceptable ways to document the medical criteria, and the documents you must submit to have an ACTD claim approved. These Guidelines were developed with the Settlement Facility and include their many, if not all, of their processing protocols or ways that they review a claim to determine if it will be approved. The Guidelines are invaluable if you want to file an ACTD claim.
You can review the ACTD Guidelines and Guidelines for all the eligible diseases on our website – www.tortcomm.org – under the tab called “Disease Claims.” It is very important that claimants and attorneys representing claimants review the Guidelines BEFORE you submit a disease claim to the Settlement Facility. If you don’t submit all of the required documents, you will receive a letter from the Settlement Facility that will identify the problems or “deficiencies” in the submission. You will only have one year from the date of that letter to fix the problems or your disease claim will be permanently denied.
If you are considering applying for ACTD, we urge you to review the Guidelines carefully. Here is a BRIEF summary. Read the detailed Guidelines for more information and to answer any questions you may have. The following is a summary only.
1. To qualify, a claimant must meet any one of the five combinations of eligible findings or symptoms from the list of over 30 eligible ACTD symptoms. The symptoms are grouped according to severity:
a. Group I signs and symptoms:
1. Raynaud’s phenomenon evidenced by the patient giving a history of two (2) color changes, or visual evidence of vasospasm, or evidence of digital ulceration
2. Polyarthritis defined as synovial swelling and tenderness in three (3) or more joints lasting greater than six (6) weeks and observed by a physician
3. Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca – subjective complaints of dry eyes and/or dry mouth, accompanied by any one of the following:
1. Lacrimal or salivary enlargement
2. Parotid enlargement
3. Abnormal Schirmer’s test
4. Abnormal Rose-Bengal staining
5. Filamentous keratitis
6. Abnormal parotid scan or ultrasound
7. Abnormal CT or MRI of parotid
8. Abnormal labial salivary biopsy
b. Group II Signs and Symptoms:
1. Myalgias determined by tenderness on examination
2. Immune mediated skin changes or rash as follows:
1. Changes in texture or rashes that may or may not be characteristic of SLE, Systemic Sclerosis (Scleroderma), or dermatomyositis
2. Diffuse petechiae, telangiectasias, or livedo reticularis
3. Pulmonary symptoms or abnormalities, which may or may not be characteristic of SLE, Systemic Sclerosis (scleroderma), or Sjogren’s Syndrome, as follows:
1. Pleural and/or interstitial lung disease
2. Restrictive lung disease
3. Obstructive lung disease as evidenced by characteristic clinical findings and either:
a. Characteristic chest x-ray changes or
b. Characteristic pulmonary function test abnormalities in a non-smoker (e.g. decreased DLCO or abnormal arterial blood gases)
4. Pericarditis defined by consistent clinical findings and either EKG or echocardiogram
5. Neuropsychiatric symptoms: cognitive dysfunction (memory loss and/or difficulty concentrating) which may be characteristic of SLE or MCTD as determined by a SPECT scan or PET scan or MRI or EEG or neuropsychological testing
6. Peripheral neuropathy diagnosed by physical examination showing one or more of the following:
1. Loss of sensation to pinprick, vibration, touch, or position
2. Tingling, paresthesia or burning pain in the extremities
3. Loss of tendon reflex
4. Proximal or distal muscle weakness (loss of muscle strength in extremities or weakness of ankles, hands, or foot drop)
5. Signs of dysesthesia
6. Entrapment neuropathies
7. Myositis or myopathy:
1. Diagnosed by weakness on physical examination or by muscle strength testing
2. Abnormal CPK or aldolase
3. Abnormal cybex testing
4. Abnormal EMG
5. Abnormal muscle biopsy
8. Serologic abnormalities – any one of the following:
1. ANA > or equal to 1:40
2. Positive ANA profile such as Anti-DNA, SSA, SSB, RNP, SM, Scl-70, centromere, Jo-1, PM-Scl or dsDNA (preferable to use ELISA with standard cutoffs)
3. Other autoantibodies, including thyroid antibodies, anti-microsomal, or anti-cardiolipin, or RF (by nephelometry with 40 IU cutoff)
4. Elevation of immunoglobulin (IgG, IgA, IgM)
5. Serologic evidence of inflammation such as elevated ESR, CRP
9. Lymphadenopathy (as defined by at least one lymph node greater than or equal to 1x1 cm) documented by a physician
10. Dysphagia with positive cine-esophagram, manometry or equivalent imaging
c. Group III Signs and Symptoms:
1. Documented arthralgia
2. Documented Myalgias
3. Chronic fatigue
5. Documented Neurological symptoms including cognitive dysfunction or paresthesia
7. Sicca symptoms
10. Sustained balance disturbances
11. Documented sleep disturbances
12. Easy bruisability or bleeding disorder
13. Chronic cystitis or bladder irritability
14. Colitis or bowel irritability
15. Persistent low grade fever or night sweats
16. Mucosal ulcers confirmed by physician
17. Burning pain in the chest, breast, arms or axilla, or substantial loss of function in breast due to disfigurement or other complications from implants or explantation
18. Pathological findings: granulomas or siliconomas or chronic inflammatory response, or breasts infections
A diagnosis of ACTD must satisfy one of the following sets of criteria:
● Any two (2) of the three signs and symptoms listed in Group 1, OR
● Any one (1) of the three signs and symptoms listed in Group 1 PLUS any one (1) of the ten signs and symptoms listed in Group II, OR
● Any three (3) of the ten signs and symptoms listed in Group II, OR
● Any two (2) of the ten signs and symptoms listed in Group II PLUS any one (1) additional (nonduplicative) sign or symptom from the 18 listed in Group III, OR
● Five (5) nonduplicative signs or symptoms listed in Group I, Group II, or Group III
2. To submit a claim for ACD, you do not need a diagnosis of ACTD. Your doctor does not need to state that your eligible findings and symptoms were caused by breast implants. You must submit medical records (doctors notes, lab results, x-rays, etc,) that show the symptoms you are relying upon.
3. You can be compensated for ACTD if you have been diagnosed with Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease (UCTD), Fibromyalgia (FM), or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). You must submit medical records that support the criteria for these diseases.
There are two ways you can qualify for ACTD:
1. A written evaluation by a Qualified Medical Doctor that documents your symptoms,
2. Written medical records from your “Treating Physician” that document your symptoms and disability, along with medical records from any other doctor you have seen that documents your symptoms.
Most claimants who are approved for ACTD do so by submitting medical records from their treating physician. The medical records must show notations where your treating doctor noted eligible symptoms. The symptoms do not have to be noted all in one visit. In fact, some of the symptoms require that they were present on more than one occasion. Please review and follow the Guidelines very carefully to make sure you have obtained all the medical records needed to approve your claim. If there are any missing documents or symptoms in your submission, the Settlement Facility will send you a deficiency letter and you will have one year to correct the problem. If you do not correct the problem within that one year, your claim for that disease will be permanently denied.
The Guidelines also list the most common problems claimants have when submitting ACTD claims. Please review these as well because they will help you avoid receiving a deficiency notice from the Settlement Facility.
REMEMBER: All disease claim forms and supporting medical documents must be sent to the Settlement Facility on or before June 3, 2019. Claims submitted after this deadline will be denied. Do not wait until the last minute to gather your medical records and submit a claim. It can often take several months to schedule doctor’s appointments and obtain medical records and laboratory reports. You must have all of the supporting documents for your claim by June 3, 2109 or your claim can be denied or not even considered.
You can download a copy of the Disease Claim Form here: http://www.tortcomm.org/sfdct_forms.shtml
EXPEDITED RELEASE PAYMENT OF $2,000 (U.S.) FOR WOMEN IN CLASS 5 (DOW CORNING BREAST IMPLANT CLAIMANT)
If you do NOT have a disease claim, you may be eligible for an Expedited Release claim of $2,000 (U.S.) (women in classes 6.1 and 6.2 – non-US women with Dow Corning breast implants are eligible for an Expedited Release payment as well but at different amounts). To be eligible, you MUST have submitted acceptable proof that you have or had a Dow Corning breast implant. That is the only criteria. The form to apply for this payment is at: http://www.tortcomm.org/sfdct_forms.shtml
If you have not submitted documents that show you have or had a Dow Corning breast implant, then you must submit the Proof of Manufacturer Form AND the Expedited Release form. Those forms can be downloaded at: http://www.tortcomm.org/sfdct_forms.shtml
The deadline to submit the Proof of Manufacturer form and the Expedited Release / Disease claim form is JUNE 3, 2019. Claims submitted after this deadline will be denied.
If you have any questions about the status of your claim, what you are eligible to apply for, and/or what class you are in, contact the Settlement Facility at: firstname.lastname@example.org. They can also send you forms if you cannot download the forms from the website.
STATUS OF FINANCE COMMITTEE’S MOTON ON PREMIUM PAYMENTS
The Finance Committee files a Supplemental brief supporting the 50% partial Premium Payments to those who have not already received them. The CAC filed a brief in support of this. All briefs are available to read on our website – www.tortcomm.org. We do not know when the Court will rule on the Finance Committee’s motion.
DEADLINE AND OTHER REMINDERS
KEEP CONTACT INFORMATION UPDATED WITH THE SETTLEMENT FACILITY: Keep all information regarding a claimant’s name, address, phone number, email address, and attorney information current with the Settlement Facility. Attorneys and law firms should also keep their contact information current with the Settlement Facility. Many claimants have been approved for payments but they have moved and have not provided a current address. Send all updates to the Settlement Facility at: Settlement Facility, P.O. Box 52429, Houston, TX 77052.
PROBATE INFORMATION: If a claimant has died, her estate can receive the claimant’s approved payments but they must certain necessary documents from the probate court. For more information on what the Settlement Facility needs, contact them toll free at: 1-866-874-6099.
ATTORNEY FEE LIMITS AND EXPENSES: The Plan sets a cap on the attorney fees payable to your attorney (if you were represented individually on your claim). The fee limits are: 10% of the first $10,000; 22.5% of the next $40,000; and 30% of amounts in excess of $50,000. The Plan also lists the types of expenses that attorneys can charge. For more information on allowable fees and expenses, review the Claimant Information Guide at Section 11 (http://www.tortcomm.org/downloads/CIG_ENG_5.pdf.
EXPLANT ASSISTANCE: The Explant Assistance program in the Dow Corning Settlement Facility expired in 2014. In addition, the MDL 926 Revised Settlement Program that covered other manufacturers like Bristol, Baxter, and 3M closed in 2010 so there are NO explant benefits available from either settlement. HOWEVER, if you still are implanted and need financial assistance to have the breast implants removed, you may be eligible for some financial assistance from a separate program. Contact Jeff Condra at email@example.com for more information.
Please mark your calendar with the following claim submission deadline. Please note that this deadline means that your claim forms and supporting documents must be received by the SF-DCT by the posted deadline. Please mail all forms early enough so that they are received by the deadline listed below.
Type of Deadline
June 3, 2019
Disease or Expedited Release Claim submission deadline for all claims in Classes 5, 6.1 and 6.2 (this deadline does NOT apply to Late Claimants)
Increased Severity claims in Disease Option 1 and Disease Option 2 for all approved disease claims in Classes 5, 6.1, and 6.2.
If you would like to read prior CAC e-newsletters, they are available on the CAC website by clicking on “Electronic Newsletter.” We urge you to visit the CAC website (www.tortcomm.org) on a regular basis to download or view relevant documents and read updates and new information.
NOTICE: This document is copyrighted. You are not authorized to post it on any website without express, prior written permission of the Claimants' Advisory Committee.