DEVONSHIRES | Hodge Jones & Allen solicitors 24 Dec 2020 15:35 #1
€1,696,153.84 - what a fantastic result for Hodge Jones & Allen
(solicitor Peter Todd) and #Devonshires (solicitor Karen Cathcart)
But definitely not for their 126 unhappy clients fitted with faulty Oculentis lens implants…
Devonshires clients each received £4,500, and HJA clients approx £6,050 - unarguably the WORST out of court Settlement Agreements (SA) I've yet seen for claimants damaged by refractive eye surgery!
(Copy of the 11 page SA posted by one of the claimants below)
Though both amounts an insulting pittance, it should now be of interest to Devonshires clients that HJA clients received almost 25% more than they did!
NB: We do not have 'Class action’ in the UK, ‘Group Litigation’ is the term used to describe collective legal action, yet this was Peter Todd's (HJA) email to me on 6 June 2018:
My 18 & 23 June posts discussed this matter in detail, which lead to both solicitors telling claimants that Oculentis (aka Teleon) might withdraw their offer because I had published, one person even sending a message asking me to take down my posts!
This was utter bullsh*t (or I obviously understand the mentality of this industry better than HJA & Devonshires do!) because I knew full well that Oculentis wouldn’t withdraw their offer.
The truth is, both law firms were desperate for their massive profits from the ‘class action’, because if less than 95% agreed to accept the SA, then Oculentis would withdraw the offer - in my opinion it would have been better for clients had they done so, forcing the lawyers to negotiate a better deal, as other firms have done!
And I have had sight of (and am in possession of) many of the emails and letters both Peter Todd and Karen Cathcart sent to their clients, with warnings not to post on any of my social media sites, not to discuss their details with anyone else in the closed #MBEF group, to delete any comments, and to stop following any of my pages, keeping each claimant isolated and scared they might lose the pittance they eventually received!
Regardless of which, throughout the last year, more than 25% of HJA and Devonshires clients involved in this claim have contacted me with their concerns about the position they found themselves in, and some more recently with concerns about the SA they have been forced to accept.
These are a few of the issues to consider:
1. Many claimants had their surgery at Optegra Eye Hospital, bilateral cost £7,000.
2. Some clients still need explants, bilateral cost approx £7-11,000, depending on choice of surgeon - of course free with nhs.uk!
(When asked by one client if cover of costs for future explants would be included in the SA, Karen Cathcart assured them this was being discussed with Oculentis. Yet this has not been included, and I believe clients may not even have recourse to the Oculentis Patient Pathway after signing this agreement.*)
3. Clients who signed up with Devonshires were assured that their claim would be dealt with on its own merits, definitely not as part of a group. I also have a recording of their Head of Dept (Nick Grant) confirming this to me.
4. HJA joined forces with Devonshires in September 2018, as I was told that Devs were allegedly struggling with the Oculentis cases, whilst Peter Todd had more expertise in this field, aggressively advertising and ambulance chasing clients.
5. Isolated clients who individually disputed this settlement were told by their lawyer that if they didn't accept it their claim would be dropped and they would be billed for legal fees.
5. Many of the clients I have spoken with did not have a medicolegal expert report, many need further expensive medical treatment, yet all received the same amount (as those with same legal representation).
6. Every client should be provided with a 'statute bill of costs', a detailed breakdown of costs showing exactly what the law firms have charged for. Not provided to the claimants who’ve contacted me.
So whilst the bad news is that this is the WORST settlement I have seen to date, and both Peter Todd and Karen Cathcart should be ashamed of themselves, there is some good news!
A number of the 126 clients party to this SA with Oculentis have approached other law firms, who have agreed to look at their initial claim to consider if they’ve been undersettled, with the possibility of taking legal action if they have, whilst a specialist firm is looking at the costs issue, as it's possible clients may be entitled to claim a percentage of this money for themselves.
Complaints are also being made to the Legal Ombudsman.
Be aware, both Devonshires and HJA will read this post, and likely to contact clients concerned, attempt to discredit me, and dissuade you from pursuing this path. (Devs did this previously, after I advised clients to ask for an interim summary of costs before accepting the low settlement offers from Optical Express that they were being pushed to agree to.)
However, no matter what they may tell you, you are legally allowed to share all details with another lawyer should you wish to do so.
You should also send a Subject Access Request to whichever law firm represented you, who are obliged to provide you with ALL correspondence and documentation relating to your claim.
As I told one person who asked me about this a few weeks ago, worried that Devs or HJA would make him give the money back if he talked to another lawyer, they cannot do so, and Oculentis certainly don't want more bad publicity!
*Posted 23 June: ’Yesterday I contacted Oculentis CEO Ben Wanders, asking for details of how #MBEF clients can access this if not currently in litigation. He has failed to respond.
Today I emailed Topcon MD, Andrew Yorke, asking how this will work for many of the 130 people who do, or may in the future, need explants - because once that €1.75m agreement is signed, unless included in its terms, they have no guarantee that this will be paid for.
And I also asked, given that Optegra Eye Hospital chain may be sold, or out of business by the end of 2020,* could he explain how this eventuality would affect their patients who have been assured that Optegra will provide explants that might be needed in the future.’
SCREWED OVER BY HODGE JONES ALLEN & DEVONSHIRES SOLICITORS 22 Nov 2020 16:31 #3
Screwed over by everyone in this OCULENTIS case- My solicitor warned me off posting in Social media & now I know why!!🤬 They didnt want to risk us all talking cos if all of us had got together it would only have took 8 of us to refuse & we could have fought this & solicitor's would have to do better job for us!! I wont say Who was my solicitor in case they ask me for the 4500 pounds back!!!!!
NB: Anyone else who was party to this agreement is also invited to contact me, as you may possibly have grounds for a legal claim against these two ambulance chasing law firms, Devonshires and Hodge Jones & Allen
OCULENTIS t/a TELEON 27 Aug 2020 14:36 #4
(3 of 3)
I understand that Oculentis is now trading as Teleon-Surgical
The very negative press (worldwide) that Oculentis has accumulated over the past few years must be very worrying for Ben Wanders, so entirely understandable that he would want to disentangle his products from this (deserved) reputation.
Google 'Oculentis’ and the first TEN pages are filled with countless ads from law firms jostling for clients* fitted with faulty Lentis lenses, and press reports, that also mention the problematic MPlusX lenses - and of course links to this website and OERML Facebook page.
*Warning re two ambulance chasing law firms to avoid posted 28 July & 18 August - contact me for details!
And whilst I don't profess to be an expert in corporate structure, I suspect that’s why Oculentis set up a second company!
Teleon appears to sell the same products, owned by the same CEO, has the same MD, and shares many of the same 'Team’ members!
The Teleon website was published earlier this year, its design quite amateurish and childlike, but I suspect this may be temporary, because click on the ‘PRODUCTS’ tab and the ‘LENTIS | FEMTIS' drop down link currently connects to the Oculentis site.
As I said, I'm not an expert in corporate structure, but I wonder if Oculentis plan to go into administration, or take other steps to swerve responsibility for further expected legal claims?
AND - for whatever reason - should the company no longer exist, where would that leave damaged UK patients needing to access the Oculentis 'Patient Pathway’?
And whilst his recent photo suggests that Oculentis |Teleon MD Mark Lansu has the same (lack of) faith in their lenses as does TopconGB MD Andrew Yorke, the latter has not responding to my perfectly polte and reasonable email last week...
Subject: Oculentis Patient Pathway (OPP)
Date: 19 August 2020 at 16:27:10 BST
Whilst you and your colleagues have refused to respond to my questions since 2015 (selection below), I am aware that both Topcon and Oculentis regularly monitor my social media sites, and have read my recent posts.
Regardless of your hostility toward me, it is a fact that, as patient advocate with My Beautiful Eyes Foundation, I am the only person in the UK providing help and advice to the many thousands of people damaged by refractive eye surgery, thanks to the government’s refusal to address this massive scandal, with corruption at every level (globally).
Within the last week MBEF has been contacted by three more people who recently attended Optical Express stores complaining of visual problems, all shocked to be told that they have the faulty Lentis IOLs - and I have no doubt there are more yet to come!
However, none of these people want to have the ‘free’ treatment offered by OE (paid by Oculentis) and have asked for my advice.
It is possible that litigation could be avoided in at least one of these cases, the person only concerned with having the problematic calcified lenses removed asap, by an experienced surgeon of their choice.
Unfortunately, if they are unable to access the OPP directly, there will be no alternative but to litigate.
With that in mind, I am asking you the same question that Ben Wanders has refused to answer.
Can you please provide me with details of the Oculentis 'Patient Pathway’, and how my clients can access it if not currently in litigation?
I look forward to your earliest response.
Best wishes 😎
Sasha Rodoy | My Beautiful Eyes Foundation
Patient Advocate & Campaign Manager'
Oculentis Faulty Lenses 27 Aug 2020 14:27 #5
(2 of 3)
Oculentis first notified ophthalmologists of their product recall in December 2014
Halfway down the second page, addressed to surgeons, this sentence screams utter and sickening contempt for patients...
'We are aware that this recall is of inconvenience for you and we would like to thank you in advance for your cooperation'
And worse, I had sight of another document advising surgeons not to tell patients fitted with the recalled lenses that they were faulty if they hadn't reported problems.
Hence why someone who contacted me a few days ago, fitted with IOLs in 2013, was shocked when he went to Optical Express very recently, complaining of increasing deterioration in his vision since last year, for the optom to tell him he had the #Lentis faulty lenses that have to be removed.
And I have no doubt that there are many more people suffering with deteriorating vision who have no idea it's due to faulty #Oculentis lenses!
Call me old fashioned, but I believe that Oculentis, or Topcon GB, or Optical Express (or other provider), had a moral - and legal - obligation to inform EVERY SINGLE PERSON fitted with the faulty lenses of this fact in 2014, who should then have been offered the opportunity (and cost of) to have the lenses explanted BEFORE they calcified!
Approximately two years ago (time flies!) Oculentis agreed to pay for one of my MBEF clients to have the faulty lenses explanted by a highly experienced surgeon of her choice. However, when they discovered that she intended to litigate, they refused to pay.
They also capped the amount they were willing to pay for an explant, whilst some people have had to turn to the NHS for these ops!
'Those affected typically experience a deterioration of visual acuity at around 36 months post-surgery, calcification of the IOL surface may be observed.’*
'Around 800 people are thought to be affected. The manufacturer claims the problem may be due to an interaction between phosphate crystals used in the hydration process and silicone residues on the lens.’**
'Oculentis says there is evidence some people may be predisposed to this problem or that certain medications can be a factor.’***
*Yet many people are presenting with problems more than 84 months (7 yrs) post surgery.
**This means there is the likelihood of hundreds more unsuspecting people still at risk of the lenses calcifying.
***If this were the case, then the MHRA (Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) are equally culpable and should be sued, because they are responsible for regulating all medicines and medical devices in the UK by ensuring they work and are acceptably safe.
But this was a bullsh*t excuse from Oculentis - the lenses are faulty, by their own admission!
(European Medicines Agency responsible for Europe-wide licence under the European Commission laws.)
Part 3 of this thread will explain steps taken by Oculentis that I strongly suspect are to divorce the company from all the online bad press, and possibly avoid further claims against them.
NB: Oculentis distributors TopconGB are responsible for administering the Oculentis Patient Pathway (OPP), yet MD Andrew Yorke refused to answer my questions in 2019 - familiar pattern for these guilty companies!
You will also notice that Andrew Yorke and pals in this LinkedIn pic obviously have no trust in the products they’re pushing!
Oculentis Faulty lenses 27 Aug 2020 14:04 #6
(1 of 3)
All those responsible for causing damage to many thousands of people with unregulated and risky refractive eye surgery deserve to be prosecuted as criminals
And I include those responsible for the manufacture and sale of faulty intraocular lenses, in this case Dutchman Ben Wanders, CEO and founder of #Oculentis BV, his greed putting profit above the welfare of unlucky #Lentis lens recipients.
‘The Oculentis GmbH/BV is the manufacturer of the famous* LENTIS intraocular lenses with their own research and development department and one of the most modern production facilities for IOL worldwide. The medical technology company has its administration headquarters in Berlin, Germany, whereas it operates its manufacturing, research and development in Eerbeek, Netherlands.’
*Certainly infamous - worldwide!
Subject: Oculentis Patient Pathway
Date: 22 June 2020 at 16:10:57 BST
I am aware that Oculentis recently made a global offer of €1.75m to 130 people fitted with lenses listed on your recall list.
Since posting details on my sites a few days ago I have been contacted by a number of people asking for advice.
This morning I spoke to someone who underwent bilateral lens replacement surgery in 2014 but presented with problems only a few months ago, now advised that the lenses are on the Oculentis recall list and both need explanting.
This contradicts reports claiming that deterioration of visual acuity will typically manifest within 36 months. Are you prepared to comment on this?
Meanwhile, can you please provide me with details of the Oculentis 'Patient Pathway’, and how my clients can access it if not currently in litigation?
I look forward to your earliest response.
NB: Sent from OERML in case MBEF mail not reaching you as I received no response to my previous email below.
Sasha Rodoy | My Beautiful Eyes Foundation
Patient Advocate & Campaign Manager'
Then we have the two law firms, who signed up a total of 130 people fitted with the faulty lens, before joining forces and bundling all their clients into the equivalent of a class action claim, even though the majority had NOT been informed that their claim would be dealt with this way.
And when they complained, these twice unlucky people discovered that they had no choice but to accept the arrangement, having signed an agreement before they knew what was intended - huge profit for the two law firms at the expense of the clients!
Said law firms told clients they should jump at the insulting offer, claiming that #Oculentis might be forced out of business if they fought for more.
Somewhat odd therefore, that a number of Oculentis MPlusX claims are being fought by one of these two law firms on their own merits, with settlements way more than the estimated £5-6,000 each of the 130 claimants will end up with.
'The LENTIS MplusX is considered to be one of the better balanced IOL’s available in the market and is used by many renowned and respectable surgeons. It is by no means a “faulty” model of lens as alleged.'
Perhaps Ben Wanders and Managing Director Mark Lansu could take a cut in their personal profits for a year, because what they’ve offered damaged patients is nothing less than an insult, showing total contempt for customers (as have the lawyers)!
And before signing away ALL their rights, a question claimants still with recalled #Lentis lenses in their eye/s should be asking: if given access to the Oculentis 'Patient Pathway’ (OPP), will they have a choice of surgeon, or be forced to use someone chosen by Oculentis?**
I strongly suspect the two greedy ambulance chasing law firms won't have bothered asking this question, because once they have their huge profit from this ‘class action’, they won’t give a sh*t what happens to their clients in the future.
When the agreement is signed with Oculentis I intend to publish details of how the approximate €1.75 million will be shared between claimants and law firms: the latter to be named and shamed, unarguably as greedy and unscrupulous as Optical Express et al!
And for their unhappy clients reading here (those who haven’t yet contacted me) details of how to complain to the Legal Ombudsman will be made available - because your (compulsory) agreement to confidentiality does NOT prevent you from complaining about the unsatisfactory service you received from the lawyers!
**To be discussed in part 2.
#Oculentis offer €1.75m 23 Jun 2020 16:41 #7
In my opinion Oculentis should leave the refractive industry stage, because their lenses are responsible for leaving thousands of people with heartbreaking problems, many with lifelong and irreparable damage to their eyes
I could write pages about this matter, but as today is the closing date for 130 people to tell their lawyers that they agree to accept the €1.75m offer from Oculentis I am rushing this.
(I may possibly post more details here at a later date, including my email conversations with the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) - in my opinion as corrupt as their US counterpart, Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Unless 95% agree, Oculentis will withdraw their insulting offer, but the two unscrupulous law firms representing these clients have given them no choice!
Because anyone who dares risk refusing to accept what equates to a paltry €5-6k (less than the original cost of surgery) has been threatened by theIr lawyers that they will drop them and seek costs!
Since posting details on my sites a few days ago I have been contacted by a number of people asking for advice, including one person who underwent bilateral lens replacement surgery in 2014, but presented with problems only a few months ago, now advised that the lenses are on the Oculentis recall list and both need explanting.
This contradicts some reports claiming that deterioration of visual acuity will typically manifest within 36 months, and this should be of concern to anyone fitted with the Oculentis lenses.
Who will pay for future surgery if not the NHS?
In 2019 I was told about the Oculentis 'Patient Pathway’ (OPP), administered by Topcon GB Ltd (UK distributor for Oculentis) and advised that Topcon had recently imposed a payment limit of £3,500 per eye to surgeons performing explants of faulty Oculentis lenses.
Yesterday I contacted Oculentis CEO Ben Wanders, asking for details of how #MBEF clients can access this if not currently in litigation. He has failed to respond.
Today I emailed #Topcon MD, Andrew Yorke, asking how this will work for many of the 130 people who do, or may in the future, need explants - because once that €1.75m agreement is signed, unless included in its terms, they have no guarantee that this will be paid for.
And I also asked, given that Optegra Eye Hospital chain may be sold, or out of business by the end of 2020,* could he explain how this eventuality would affect their patients who have been assured that Optegra will provide explants that might be needed in the future.
What I don't understand is, given that Oculentis themselves recalled these lenses, why they now argue the claims brought by other (more scrupulous) firms representing clients fitted with these lenses.
This screenshot refers to OE's £21.5m legal claim v Associated Newspapers Ltd (re Daily Mail).
You will note that there is no mention of the damage caused to so many people who were fitted with Oculentis lenses, including retinal detachments and other serious issues - of more concern to me than the damage caused to the industry by publicising facts and truth!
And nor were the reports 'inaccurate and misleading', which is why Optical Express 'dropped' their claim, accepting a £150k Part 36 offer, and ordered by the court to pay the Defendant’s costs - which I recall were over £1m!
Oculentis Faulty lenses 18 Jun 2020 19:12 #8
It's estimated that approximately 800 people were fitted with faulty Oculentis Intraocular lenses, recalled by the manufacturer in 2014 and 2017
Posted previously, but for those who missed it, the faulty lenses:
'LENTIS HydroSmart foldable Intraocular lenses (IOL), with CE mark CE 1275 packaged in glass vials, production date until 31/12/2011. All IOL models, starting with L-. LU- or LS- and with serial numbers starting with 20000.’
Expiry date: January 2017 to May 2020.*
The majority of patients were fitted with the recalled lenses at Optical Express and Optegra Eye Hospital, and also at Moorfields Private Eye Hospital.
When this was publicised, a number of law firms jumped on the opportunity to sign up as many claimants as they could, some with aggressive advertising and promises of huge settlements.
Today, while most of the claimants are still in litigation, some have paid a lot of money to have the lenses explanted privately, some at NHS hosptals, others still needing surgery.
After an anonymous source provided me with a number of ‘Strictly confidential’ documents, detailing a recent offer from Oculentis, to 130 victims included in what would be termed a ‘class action’ in America, I decided to do some further research.
In 2019 one law firm settled claims with Optegra clinics using contract law, alleging that the lenses were not of a satisfactory quality under the Sale of Goods and Services Act 1982.
I understand that Optegra settled these cases without too much fuss, albeit without an admission of liability, and clients apparently received approximately £13-14,000 each.
Different law firms have taken varying approaches to claims, going after the credit card company, using the Consumer Protection Act, and employing other strategies.
Two test cases are going to trial next year.
Brought to my attention yesterday, I discovered there were similar problems in 2000 and 2004, with calcification of Hydroview (Bausch and Lomb) and Aqua-Sense IOLs. (Google if interested)
I don't have any details about Aqua-Sense, but was told that Bausch and Lomb behaved in a reasonable manner: they held their hands up and accepted responsibility.
Unlike Oculentis, who are pleading poverty, determined to pay out as little as possible so they can stay in business and get back to making lots of money!
In a 'class action’ the settlement amount is divided equally between all claimants - after greedy lawyers have taken the lion’s share - which means that anyone who has serious problems and needs further operations will get the same amount as another person whose eyes are relatively OK.
And it should be noted that many of the claimants involved in this ‘class action’ were initially MBEF clients, and none that I know of were told they were part of a group action when they signed up with the law firms!
In fact, I have a recording of one lawyer assuring me that Oculentis claimants would be managed individually, NOT as a 'class action'.
And then we go back to the cost to the NHS…
Is it fair that a Dutch company should be allowed to continue trading for vast profit, leaving UK tax payers to fund operations to fix the problems caused by these lenses?
Answers on a postcard (email) - to your MP please!
To be continued...