A federal court jury Friday awarded $7.3 million in damages to a woman after finding that her Dow Corning silicone breast implant had ruptured, causing a painful, permanent immune-system disease.
A lawyer for Mariann Hopkins of Sebastopol said the damages were the largest in any of the four breast implant trials held in the nation so far, and should help encourage similar suits. He said several hundred cases against implant manufacturers are pending nationwide.
The six-member jury found Monday that the implant was designed and manufactured defectively, and that Dow Corning had failed to warn Hopkins of the risks of the device, had breached its warranty and had committed fraud.
After a separate trial on damages, the same jury awarded Hopkins $840,000 in compensation for economic losses and pain, and $6.5 million in punitive damages.
The verdict will be appealed in every way available, said Frank Woodhouse, a lawyer for the Midland, Mich.-based company.