Charles Russell Speechlys takes over PIP defence from BLM

Charles Russell Speechlys has replaced BLM as lawyer to thousands of British women bringing a group claim over faulty breast implants, The Lawyer can reveal.

Charles Russell Speechlys partner Prav Reddy came on the record last week (5 January), taking over from BLM product liability head Jim Sherwood.

The case is listed as one of The Lawyer’s Top 20 Cases 2016 with the full list set to be revealed on Monday (18 January).

BLM has been representing the lead defendant in the case, Transform Medical Group, and its insurers for several years. Transform was a supplier of poly implant protheses (PIP) used in breast augmentation operations.

Reddy was first instructed by Transform’s administrators, Martin Armstrong and James Patchett of accountancy firm Turpin Barker Armstrong, when the company went into administration in June 2015. However Charles Russell Speechlys has now taken over advice on the group litigation as well.

Reddy has instructed Blackstone Chambers’ Peter Head on the case.

In a statement BLM said: “BLM has acted for Transform and its insurers in the PIP group litigation. Since Transform’s insurers have resolved their interest in the litigation and Transform is in administration, BLM have come off the court record and Transform’s administrators’ solicitor has gone on the court record. BLM remain on the court record for other defendants in the group litigation.”

Those defendants are London Welbeck Hospital and cosmetic surgery provider MYA. Henderson Chambers’ James Purnell is instructed for London Welbeck, but there is no counsel for MYA.

DWF partner Mark Whittaker and senior solicitor Stephen Winterton, who were acting for insurers Travelers, instructed Devereux Chambers’ Colin Edelman QC and Fountain Court’s Ben Lynch, but are understood not to be directly involved in the ongoing proceedings.

A group litigation order (GLO) was made by the Cardiff High Court in 2012 over the claims that the implants were faulty. The affected women are claiming that the supply of the implants breached the implied terms of the Sale of Goods or Supply of Goods and Services Acts.

Hugh James partner Mark Harvey was appointed to head up the claimants’ case, leading a steering committee that included Irwin Mitchell solicitor Kevin Timms, Freeths partner Paul Balen and Slater & Gordon partner Richard Langton.

Harvey has instructed a line-up of counsel led by Doughty Street Chambers’ Robin Oppenheim QC and 7 Bedford Row’s Hugh Preston QC.

The trial was originally scheduled for October 2014, but has been adjourned twice following disagreements between the parties. It is expected that it may finally reach trial later this year.

The legal line-up:

For the claimants, X Y Z

Doughty Street Chambers’ Robin Oppenheim QC, 7 Bedford Row’s Hugh Preston QC, 11KBW’s Marcus Pilgerstorfer and Doughty Street’s Louise Price, instructed by Hugh James partner Mark Harvey; leading steering committee of Irwin Mitchell solicitor Kevin Timms, Freeths partner Paul Balen and Slater & Gordon partner Richard Langton

For the defendants, Transform Medical Group (in administration)

Blackstone Chambers’ Peter Head, instructed by Charles Russell Speechlys partner Prav Reddy

For the defendants, London Welbeck Hospital

Henderson Chambers’ James Purnell, instructed by BLM partner Jim Sherwood

For the defendants, MYA Ltd

BLM partner Jim Sherwood

For the part 20 defendants, Clover Leaf

Henderson Chambers’ Prashant Popat QC and Andrew Kinnier, instructed by RPC partners Nick McMahon and Dorothy Flower