The Allergan Collective gets green light from Amsterdam District Court

On 14 February, 2024, the Amsterdam District Court handed down an interim judgment in women’s rights foundation Bureau Clara Wichmann’s collective action against breast implant manufacturer Allergan (now AbbVie). These implants are linked to a rare type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma also known as Breast Implant Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma, or BIA-ALCL.

The Court found that the foundation’s claim on behalf of 60,000 women who underwent implant surgery in the Netherlands is admissible. Notably, this also includes women who reside abroad but received their implants in the Netherlands. For women who received their implants after 15 November 2016, the foundation is allowed to claim compensation for material as well as non-material harm. It is the first time since the introduction of the new Dutch class action regime that a Dutch court has deemed a claim for non-material harm in a collective action admissible.

After a very short admissibility phase in which the court also greenlighted the funding arrangements, the case will go forward to the substantive phase during which the question of liability is dealt with. During the upcoming phase of the proceedings, women represented by Bureau Clara Wichmann will be informed about the ongoing case and given the chance to opt out.

This verdict establishes a significant precedent for collective claims for personal injury. Particularly in product liability cases, where enforcing the rights of claimants can be challenging, this decision holds profound implications for the protection of victims of mass-damage caused by defective products.

The Hausfeld team representing the foundation consists of Erik-Jan Zippro, Jantina Hiemstra and Anne van den Bergh.