American Journal of Law & Medicine

Malpractice & negligence: negligent undertaking liability for silicone testing - Dow Chemical Co. v. Mahlum.(Nevada)

Malpractice & Negligence: Negligent Undertaking Liability for Silicone Testing--Dow Chemical Co. v. Mahlum(1)--The Supreme Court of Nevada, in a 3-2 decision, affirmed a $4.1 million verdict finding Dow Chemical Company liable for negligently undertaking its duty to test completely the safety of silicone.(2) However, the court reversed the verdict regarding fraudulent concealment, aiding and abetting and acting in concert, vacating a $10 million punitive damage award.

In 1985, plaintiff Charlotte Mahlum received silicone breast implants manufactured by the defendant, Dow Corning, during reconstructive surgery.(3) Five years later, she noticed a significant deterioration in her health due, allegedly, to silicone leakage. In 1993, one of her implants ruptured and a portion of the silicone gel became permanently embedded into her muscles and tissue. Subsequently, she developed an atypical autoimmune disease. She filed suit against Dow Corning, Dow Chemical and various other defendants alleging that her disease resulted from the rupture of her breast implant. …

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