A German court began hearing on Tuesday the country's first lawsuit over a health scandal surrounding French-made breast implants that collapsed and were found to leak silicone into women's bodies.
The regional court in the southwestern city of Karlsruhe opened the case brought by a 40-year-old woman who opted for the implants from French manufacturer Poly Implant Prothese or PIP in 2007 after three pregnancies.
"With her lawsuit, the plaintiff is seeking an award primarily for pain and suffering of 20,000-30,000 euros ($25,000-38,000) from five defendants based on various legal aspects," the court said in a statement.
The plaintiff had paid 5,800 euros for implants before learning in 2010 after the scandal broke that they were filled with a sub-standard silicone gel.
The defendants include the woman's cosmetic surgeon, whom she accuses of failing to inform her sufficiently about the risks and of having promoting PIP implants in particular.
Other defendants include PIP's insurer, German inspection authorities and the German federal government, which the defendant accuses of failing in its duties to properly oversee medical products despite reports of problems.
According to federal records, more than 5,200 women in Germany received PIP implants. By mid-2012, 1,015 women had had them removed. In more than one-quarter of the cases, a rupture of the implant had been detected.
In Spain, a woman filed suit against her surgeon in February. A Madrid court ordered the doctor to pay the plaintiff nearly 7,500 euros for not having sufficiently warned her of the risks.
The first lawsuit in France is expected to be heard in April.
It was not immediately clear when a verdict in the German suit could be expected.
PIP was shut down and its products banned in April 2010 after it was revealed to have been using non-authorised silicone gel that caused abnormally high implant rupture rates.