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Nearly 15,000 Women Opt Out Of $4.2 Billion Breast Implant Settlement

July 20, 1994

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) _ Almost 15,000 women with silicone breast implants have decided not to join in a $4.2 billion settlement of a lawsuit against former implant manufacturers, court officials said Wednesday.

Their decisions to seek damages individually could mean additional costs for the manufacturers, including Dow Corning Corp., whose chairman has said the company might seek bankruptcy protection if the number of separate lawsuits grew too large.

More than 60,000 women have registered to join in the settlement, reached after more than 13,000 women filed lawsuits claiming health problems from the implants. Some 1 million American women received the silicone implants.

Court officials said 14,742 women notified U.S. District Judge Sam Pointer they want to act on their own rather than accept the settlement terms.

Pointer has given the settlement tentative approval and has set an Aug. 18 hearing. Under the settlement, the manufacturers admit no connection between the implants and health problems.

Christy Meter, a Dow Corning spokeswoman, declined to comment Wednesday. Dow Corning officials have said they likely will decide in mid-August whether the proposed settlement remains financially feasible.

The other main defendants are 3M, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and Baxter Healthcare Corp.

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