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France's top court is ruling Wednesday in a case that may require some 1,700 women around the world to pay back compensation they received over rupture-prone breast implants.

The decision is the latest in a years-long legal drama that has potential implications for tens of thousands of women from Europe to South America who received the faulty implants, which were made with industrial-grade silicone instead of medical silicone. The scandal helped lead to tougher European medical device regulations.

France's Court of Cassation is ruling Wednesday in one of multiple legal cases stemming from the affair. The case concerns German products-testing company TUV Rheinland, which was initially ordered to pay 5.7 million euros (currently $6.5 million) damages to the women.

The manufacturer of the implants, French company Poly Implant Prothese, or PIP, was convicted of fraud. But the bankrupt manufacturer couldn't pay damages to the women, who suffered from often painful, leaky implants — so they sought compensation from TUV Rheinland instead, arguing it should have never certified the product in the first place.

An appeals court in Aix-en-Provence later found the Germany company was not liable for the faulty implants, and ordered women to pay back the damages in 2015. TUV Rheinland lawyer Cecile Derycke says the company has paid 5.7 million euros ($6.5 million) overall to the women involved in this case, many in Colombia but also around Europe and elsewhere.

The case is now at the Court of Cassation, which will decide whether to uphold the appeals ruling or send it back for new legal proceedings. Lawyer Derycke argues that TUV Rheinland is being unfairly held responsible for PIP's wrongdoing.

Lawyer Olivier Aumaitre, representing thousands of women with the implants, argues that if no one is held responsible, then Europe's consumer product certification system is meaningless.

While 1,700 women will be directly affected by Wednesday's ruling, it could have fallout for thousands of others who joined other lawsuits seeking damages from TUV Rheinland.


Panama's Electoral Tribunal has lifted former President Ricardo Martinelli's immunity from prosecution, clearing the way for authorities to investigate him for alleged corruption.

The lifting of Martinelli's immunity as a member of the Central American parliament had been requested by Panama's Supreme Court and frees it to proceed with his prosecution. The decision was made Tuesday and announced the following day.

The billionaire supermarket magnate faces accusations that he inflated contracts worth $45 million to purchase dehydrated food for a government social program.

Martinelli has denied the charges and says he is the target of persecution by his successor, Juan Carlos Varela. He has left the country and his whereabouts are unknown.

Martinelli governed Panama from 2009-2014, a period of high economic growth but also of corruption, his critics say.







PREVENT ALMOST 200 COMPLETELY INNOCENT CHATSWORTH TRAIN WRECK VICTIMS FROM BEING VICTIMIZED A SECOND TIME BY THE FEDERAL LIABILITY DAMAGE LIMIT LAW (49 United States Code Section 28103)

At 4:22 PM on Friday, September 12, 2008, almost 200 completely innocent Southern California Metrolink #111  Railroad passengers were on their way home for the weekend.  See the track diagram. Their locomotive engineer, Robert Sanchez, was employed by Connex Railroad, LLC, a division of  Paris, France based Veolia Environnement, which had contracted to provide locomotive engineers, conductors and management to operate the Metrolink railroad throughout 5 Southern California counties.

Connex/Veolia claims to have safety as its number one priority. That website claim is not practiced. Unknown to the Metrolink # 111 passengers, but for weeks well known to upper Veolia/ Connex management,  their locomotive engineer, Robert Sanchez, previously busted  in 2006 for written cell phone usage rule violation, had  again been sending between 25 and 180 text messages per day while on duty, including many while operating (driving) the train. Unknown to them, for several miles that Friday afternoon, Mr. Sanchez failed to call out signals or control the speed of the train as required by written rules. Also unknown to them Mr. Sanchez  ran, over speed,  past the CP Topanga  red signal a mile after leaving the Chatsworth station, as he was sending a text messages to male teenage rail fan friends.  Twenty two seconds later, and without any warning, their train  hit a freight train traveling over 40 MPH head on, derailing all the locomotives. Their speed went from 43 MPH to 0 and being  forced backwards –all within 7 /10 of a second. In this instant, 25 were  killed and 150 injured, often catastrophically.  The lives of all their families were changed forever.

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