O'Brien and Ryan, LLP - Attorneys at Law
Legal News


(1) Background:

In the early 1990s, numerous lawsuits were commenced in Pennsylvania against silicone breast implant manufacturers, implanting physicians and hospitals alleging that silicone breast implants caused a host of injuries including systemic disease. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court set up a Coordinating Court to manage the silicone breast implant cases. The Chairperson is the Honorable R. Stanton Wettick, Jr. from Allegheny County.

O'Brien & Ryan, L.L.P. was appointed by the Supreme Court to act as liaison counsel on behalf of all Pennsylvania Plastic Surgeons. The firm's role involves active participation in the day-to-day management of the litigation. In addition to representing individual doctors, the firm's liaison role allows it to represent, when necessary, all defendant plastic surgeons regarding issues that affect all of the defendant doctors on a global basis. In this representation, the firm has actively participated in the preparation of pleadings, motions and briefs as well as attending hearings and arguments. Furthermore, as liaison counsel, the firm has worked closely with the Courts and liaison counsel for the plaintiffs, manufacturer and hospital defendants to develop the current trial programs throughout the state.

After a long stay of all silicone implant litigation, due in large part to the Dow Corning Bankruptcy, the the Coordinating Court released a handful of cases in 1998 to proceed to trial. The first case, Toledo v. Mitra, M.D., proceeded to trial on July 16, 2001 against the implanting plastic surgeon in which the plaintiff claimed that the doctor failed to obtain the patient's informed consent prior to inserting silicone gel implants. Prior to trial, Judge Wettick issued an opinion precluding plaintiffs' experts from testifying that silicone gel caused injury and/or persistent, chronic pain after removal of the implant. The issues were therefore limited to whether the doctor informed the patient of the risks of surgery. Plaintiffs took the position that the risks of the procedure included risks associated with the implants themselves and that the plaintiff should have been told about the alternative of saline implants. Damages were sought for pain, capsular contracture, lymphadenopathy, silicone granulomas, chest wall deformity, gel bleed/migration, hematoma, scarring and disfigurement. The trial, tried by our own Daniel F. Ryan, III, Esquire, resulted in a defense verdict.

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Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462
Phone: (610) 834-8800
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