IMPLANT CLAIMS SNOWBALLING

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So many women are claiming damages from a landmark, $4.25 billion settlement over breast implants that each may receive just 5 percent of what she was promised. "There are just too many sick women," Ralph Knowles, the plaintiffs' attorney in the class-action suit, announced today. "I didn't think it was going to be anything like that. If I did, we would never have agreed to the $4.25 billion." Discussions are underway to convince Dow Corning, Bristol-Myers Squibb and other implant makers to add billions more to what is already the largest product-liability settlement in U.S. history. A partial analysis of claims finds that more than 70,000 women likely would be eligible to get money in the first wave of payments. Women who expected payments of $1.4 million each would receive as little as $70,000, while low-end awards of $105,000 could shrink to about $5,000. Knowles said the talks must produce a new deal within a few weeks or "we're going to call it off."