Federal Judge Brian R. Martinotti Selects Fitzpatrick for Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee in Allergan Biocell Textured Breast Implant Liability Litigation
ALTON, Illinois – Simmons Hanly Conroy, one of the nation’s largest mass torts firms, is proud to announce the appointment of Shareholder Laura Fitzpatrick to the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee (PEC) in the multidistrict litigation (MDL) involving Allergan’s Biocell textured breast implants and tissue expanders, which are linked to a rare type of cancer called breast implant-associated anaplastic large-cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL).
The Honorable Brian R. Martinotti, of the U.S. District Court of the District of New Jersey, issued the appointment Feb. 25 in the order Allergan BIOCELL Textured Breast Implant Products Liability Litigation, No. 2:19-md-02921, MDL No. 2921 (D.N.J.).
“I’m honored to have the opportunity to work alongside such a distinguished group of attorneys in this important litigation on behalf of women throughout the country,” said Fitzpatrick. “Judge Martinotti’s appointments have created a great team of attorneys who are dedicated to holding Allergan accountable and securing justice for those who have been harmed.”
In July 2019, Allergan issued a global recall of Biocell textured breast implants and tissue expanders in compliance with requests from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA first noted the implants’ possible link to BIA-ALCL in January 2011. The rare cancer, which affects the lymphatic system, often forms in the scar tissue—or tissue capsule—surrounding implants. At the time of the recall, 481 cases of BIA-ALCL were attributed to Allergan implants. The lawsuits allege that Allergan knew its Biocell textured implants increased women’s chances of contracting BIA-ALCL and failed to sufficiently warn them of the risks. The MDL includes both individual and class action suits.
The 26-member MDL leadership team is inclusive and diverse in gender, race and age. As the litigation is an important women’s health issue, three of the four co-leads are women, as well as three of the PEC and half of the Steering Committee. The team also includes a mix of veteran and younger attorneys.
A shareholder in the firm’s Complex Litigation Department, Fitzpatrick has been an integral member of several MDL teams, most recently serving on the firm’s prescription opioid trial team. The federal litigation has been dubbed by the New York Times as “the most daunting legal challenge in the country.” She and other team members helped secure $325 million in settlements for two Ohio counties harmed by the opioid epidemic during the first bellwether trial. She also was an active trial team member for the DePuy Orthopaedics hip implant MDL and genetically modified rice MDL.
The litigation is In re: Allergan Biocell Implant Products Liability, MDL 2921 (District of New Jersey).