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Judge To Rule on Dow Corning’s Plan

November 29, 1999

BAY CITY, Mich. (AP) _ After four years of legal wrangling, Dow Corning Corp. should learn Tuesday whether a judge accepts its bankruptcy reorganization plan that includes a $3.2 billion settlement over silicone breast implants the company no longer makes.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Arthur Spector’s ruling comes four months after his hearings on the Midland-based company’s $4.5 billion plan to emerge from bankruptcy, sought after thousands of women sued over implants.

Spector has said his ruling would focus on one the settlement’s most contentious parts _ a provision barring further lawsuits against Dow Corning’s corporate parents _ Dow Chemical Co. and Corning Corp. _ over silicone breast implants. He also said he will consider the settlement’s ban on punitive damages.

The implants settlement provides $3.2 billion to settle claims from 170,000 women who say their implants caused various illnesses. The bankruptcy plan also includes $1.3 billion to settle other claims, including those from creditors and healthcare organizations.

On Monday, Dow Corning spokesman T. Michael Jackson said the company believed Spector would confirm the bankruptcy plan and implant settlement, the latter already approved by 94 percent of 112,774 women in the case.

Objectors to the plan include 50 women with implants from Nevada, where that state’s Supreme Court has upheld a civil decision against Dow Chemical. Geoffrey White, a lawyer for those women, argues the settlement takes away their right to sue, making it ``patently illegal and unconstitutional.″

Kenneth Eckstein, a lead attorney for the bulk of U.S. women who sued Dow Corning, did not immediately return a telephone message left Monday.

Dow Corning, which no longer makes silicone breast implants, declared bankruptcy in 1995 after thousands of women sued over implants they said made them sick.

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