Women suing cosmetic surgery clinic oppose application to have business wound up

The Harley Medical Group (Ireland) Limited, Herbert Place, Dublin, has petitioned the High Court for a winding up order

A number of women suing a cosmetic surgery clinic that fitted them with allegedly defective silicone breast implants are opposing an application to have the business wound up.

The Harley Medical Group (Ireland) Limited, Herbert Place, Dublin, has petitioned the High Court for a winding up order and appointment of a liquidator on grounds it is insolvent and unable to pay its debts.

The British Virgin Islands-registered Harley Medical Group began operations in Ireland in 1999 but ceased trading last autumn.

A solicitor for a number of women who allege they received controversial Poly Implant Prothèse (PIP) implants through the company yesterday asked Ms Justice Mary Laffoy to refuse to wind up the company.


Industrial-grade silicone
Solicitor Edward McGarr made the application on behalf of about 20 of 150 women who allege they received implants from the company, which could rupture and leak harmful industrial-grade silicone into their bodies.

It was revealed four years ago that PIP implants, manufactured by French company Poly Implant Prothèse, could leak the silicone, which is toxic.

In 2012, after the women failed to have treatment provided by the clinics that fitted their implants, the Department of Health said it would assume responsibility for the cost of removing PIP implants where it was deemed necessary.

In an affidavit, Mr McGarr said his clients had insufficient information to know if the company was insolvent or not and there was reason to think it was solvent.

The Irish court lacks jurisdiction to hear the winding-up petition. An associated company, The Harley Medical Centre Ltd (THMC), trading as the Harley Medical Group, was in administration in the UK which was a more appropriate jurisdiction to hear any winding-up petition, he said.


Jurisdiction
Bernard Dunleavy, for the company, argued Ireland was the appropriate jurisdiction to hear the petition. While registered in the British Virgin Islands, the petitioner's only place of business was Ireland, where it had employed eight people and carried out procedures in Mullingar, Co Westmeath, he outlined.

While the England-based THMC had common directors and shareholders, it was separate from The Harley Medical Group (Ireland) Limited and from this application, Mr Dunleavy said.

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