“MASS TORTS” are NOT the same as CLASS ACTIONS “Mass Torts” are lawsuits where a number of people suffer injuries and/or damages as the result of a single incident or event. Each individual lawsuit is individually filed and is litigated on its own merits. “Class Actions” are lawsuits where one or two plaintiffs file suit on behalf of all people who have a similar claim, and the success of a class action depends on the strength of those two plaintiff’s claims.
Because mass torts have hundreds, and often thousands of plaintiffs, they are consolidated into one court to ensure uniformity and consistency of court rulings, as well as judicial efficiency and economy. These consolidations take the form or either State Court Consolidation, State Court Multi District Litigation (MDL) or Federal Court Multi District Litigation (MDL).
If you have these three elements, you may have a case: 1. THE PERSON HAS SUFFICIENT EXPOSURE TO THE DANGEROUS DRUG Typically, pharmaceuticals only stay in the body for 48 to 72 hours. Adverse events such as a stroke or heart attack may occur within the 48 – 72 hours that the drug is in your system. Adverse events such as injury to the liver or pancreas may require longer exposure periods. 2. THE PERSON SUFFERS THE SPECIFIC THE ADVERSE EVENT MADE THE BASIS OF THE LITIGATION Absolutely must have been diagnosed during the emergency room or hospital admission with the exact condition made the basis of the litigation regarding the dangerous drug. 3. THE PERSON RECEIVES EMERGENCY MEDICAL CARE FOR THAT ADVERSE EVENT Emergency room admission, followed by Hospital admission with a diagnosis of the specific adverse event made the basis of the litigation regarding the dangerous drug or defective medical device.
The lawsuits are brought under state product liability laws. A products liability case refers to any case brought against a manufacturer or seller of a product for recovery of damages arising out of personal injury, death, or property damage caused by that defective product. These cases are based in strict tort liability (meaning liability is imposed on a party without a finding of fault because it is inherently unsafe and known to be unsafe), strict products liability (the manufacturer is liable if the product is defective, even if the manufacturer was not negligent in making that product defective), negligence, misrepresentation, breach of express or implied warranty, or any other theory or combination of theories. Damages can be sought for lost wages, lost earning capacity, actual out of pocket losses, pain and suffering in the present and future, mental anguish in the present and future, and payment of past and future medical bills. Our representation of those who sustain a personal injury is on a “contingency fee” basis, meaning that the lawyers getting paid their attorney’s fees and being reimbursed for their expense in the case is “contingent” upon the lawyers making a recovery in your case. If the lawyers do not make a recovery in your case, you owe neither attorney’s fees or reimbursement of their expenses.
Settlements in mass tort litigation are either global (across and including all filed or known cases that qualify for the settlement) or inventory (all cases being handled by a particular law firm or group of attorneys.) In both instances, each case has an individual evaluation and submission for inclusion in the settlement and stands on its own merit. The client decides whether to accept the settlement offer. Each case has to qualify to participate in the settlement according to criteria set forth in the settlement, typically being exposure to the drug or medical device and suffering the injury made the basis of the litigation with a temporal relationship between the two.