A High Court judge has refused permission for seventeen potential claimants to join the PIP Group Litigation Order scheduled to be heard in October.
The PIP Group Litigation Order is similar to a class action and allows a number of similar compensation claims for faulty breast implants to be managed collectively against a number of defendants – in the case of the PIP Group Litigation Order, against the Transform Medical Group and four other cosmetic surgery clinics.
In March 2012, the High Court endorsed the PIP Group Litigation Order allowing claimants to take legal action against the five companies on alleged breaches on the Sale of Goods Act 1979 and Sale of Goods and Services Act 1982. The first hearing is scheduled to take place in October; however the Order came with the proviso that claimants should register to participate in the collective legal action prior to April 2013.
Just before the cut-off date, seventeen potential claims for PIP breast implant compensation were being managed by Tandem Law – a Manchester law firm specialising in Group Litigation Orders. Tandem Law suddenly went out of business due to its overseas investors withdrawing their support, and the company was acquired by AHV Legal.
In the changeover period, the 17 applications to participate in the PIP Group Litigation Order were overlooked, and not completed until February 2014. The Transform Medical Group, Alexander Healthcare, Spire Healthcare and Aspen Healthcare objected to the new applications being added to the register of claimants; along with Cloverleaf Products Ltd – the UK supplier of the faulty breast implants against whom the cosmetic surgery companies are seeking indemnity.
The case proceeded to the High Court, where it was heard before Mrs Justice Thirwall DBE. The cosmetic surgery clinics argued that the seventeen claimants should not be allowed to join the PIP Group Litigation order on the grounds of recommendations made in the Jackson Report – the 2014 review of the rules and principles governing the costs of civil litigation, in which Lord Jackson had criticised delays and non-compliance with Group Litigation Orders. The clinics´ barristers supplied several examples of cases in which Lord Jackson´s recommendations had been applied.
Barristers on behalf of the seventeen applicants argued that, should they not be allowed to participate in the PIP Group Litigation Order, their prospects of recovering compensation for faulty breast implants would be compromised. They contended that, should the PIP Group Litigation Order find in favour of the other claimants, there may be insufficient funds remaining to compensate the seventeen late applicants.
Mrs Justice Thirwall DBE found this argument speculative, and commented that if this scenario was to be realised, the seventeen claimants would have reason to claim compensation from AVH Legal. She allowed the objection by the cosmetic surgery clinics on the basis of the Jackson Report, and disqualified the late applicants from the PIP Group Litigation Order.Read More