PIP scandal: prospect of a damage award diminished

Miriam Schuh

German patients who received defective breast implants from the French manufacturer Poly Implant Prothèse SA (PIP) face the prospect of losing their fight for compensation before the European Court of Justice as well. While a judgment has yet to be issued, we do have the Opinion of the ECJ Advocate General.

This Opinion concludes that the French liability insurer is not required to cover injuries sustained by non-French victims. Traditionally, the ECJ's judgments often conform to the Advocate General's opinions. The insurance company in this case invokes a territorial clause in the manufacturer's insurance policy which limits coverage to losses occurring in France.

In its final judgment, the ECJ will have to decide whether this clause, including its adverse effects for the German patients who were denied coverage for their injuries, can be reconciled with the EU's prohibition on discrimination based on nationality.

[Febuary 2020]