Here at Trujillo Vargas Gonzalez & Hevia, LLP, we have noticed that most people have heard of Class Action Law, but not often do they hear the term Mass Tort Litigation. Mass Tort litigation is a subdivision within Class Action Law. Class Action is a type of legal action where a lawsuit is filed on behalf of a group of people who experienced the same set of damages or injuries. Class Action Lawsuits are intended to cut down the number of court cases that have to be litigated. If all the defendants have the same claim, it only makes sense to handle it as one case. Some examples of Class Action Lawsuits are employee discrimination, environmental disasters such as oil spills that affect groups of people and groups of individuals who have been prescribed the wrong drug.
The similarities between Mass Tort and Class Action are:
- Both contain large numbers of plaintiffs that have been allegedly harmed
- The lawsuit is consolidated into one action, not separate lawsuits
- All defendants have the same claim
The main difference between Mass Tort Litigation and Class Action stems from how the large groups of plaintiffs are treated. Mass Torts often involve groups of people who reside in the same geographic area, unlike Class Actions where plaintiffs typically reside all over the place. With Mass Tort, each plaintiff, although they are part of a large group, is treated as an individual. That means that with Mass Tort, each individual is expected to disclose certain facts specific to their incident. With Mass Tort, each person in the mass action lawsuit explains how he or she has been damaged by the actions of the defendant.
Two of the most frequent Mass Tort claims are:
- Consumer product claims: There have been many plaintiffs who sue together to reap compensation for injury or even death caused by dangerous products. The defective product could be a hair blow dryer, child’s toy, lawn mower- anything that has caused harm to consumers when using that product.
- Pharmaceutical claims: Medical products such as drugs are sometimes defective. No matter how reputable the hospital or doctor, occasionally defective drugs are given to large groups of people. Those drugs were intended to make people healthy, however, they deemed to be dangerous or deadly.
Before a Mass Tort action takes place, the plaintiffs’ lawyer must ask the court for permission. The court will then consider the following things:
- Whether a large number of plaintiffs are involved
- Whether the injuries are suffered by various similar plaintiffs
- Whether the plaintiffs are close enough geographically
- Whether the injuries suffered are similar
- Whether the claims made by the plaintiffs are associated with a common cause
Mass Tort Litigation is typically more complicated than class action lawsuits and needs to be treated with the utmost care and professionalism. If you or a loved one has experienced harm caused by defective products or defective drugs, we strongly suggest that you take action. Keep in mind, once a mass tort case has begun, the judge will often publish details of the lawsuit in newspapers to see if there are others who have been harmed by the same product or drug so they can join the lawsuit if they wish to. Mass Tort Litigation is one of our specialties at Trujillo Vargas Gonzalez & Hevia, LLP in Coral Gables, Florida. We are here to help you with all your questions and concerns. Please visit our website for more information: https://www.trujillovargas.com or call us at (305) 631-2528.