What Are Some Advantages Of A Mass Tort Suit?
You get the benefit of the collective work of all the attorneys involved in the litigation. You get the advantage of a lot of good lawyers on both sides that really narrow the issues that are to be tried and help resolve the claims, like in the case of mesh which involves more than 70,000 women, more efficiently than if the cases were scattered individually across the country and had to be worked up, every single one of them, to trial. There are definitely strong advantages to an MDL in that it can improve the efficiency through the discovery and pretrial process and help resolve the cases in a more timely manner.
How Can I Get Legitimate Information Regarding Attending a Potential Mass Tort Case?
You could contact your local plaintiff’s bar and see if there is a firm that they could refer you to. You could always jump on the old web and I’m sure you’ll get plenty of hits and then pick up the phone and discuss your case with an attorney, typically firms such as mine to have free consultation. We’ll investigate the claim at no charge to see if it’s viable and to see if it’s something that we could help with, so the important thing is that typically time is of the essence.
Every state has what’s called a statute of limitations, which is basically a time period where you have to file your claim, otherwise it can be barred. For example, if you were in a car accident in the State of Alabama, you would have two years from the date of that accident to file a claim against the driver or responsible persons who hit you, otherwise you likely can never hold responsible the person.
Is it Ever Too Late to Get Involved in an Ongoing Mass Tort Case?
It’s really a case by case analysis. Some states have what’s called a discovery rule where you have to know that you were injured by a particular drug or device or should have discovered that through the exercise of reasonable diligence. In other words, you can’t just sit back and say, “I think Xarelto may have caused me to have an excessive GI bleed” but not take steps to further investigate whether that is the case.
What those discovery rules states do is toll or hold in advance that statute of limitations until the period where the plaintiff either knew or should have known that they had a viable claim. At that point, the clock starts ticking and depending on which state it is, you might have from one year to four years to bring the suit after that discovery is made but the discovery in the use of reasonable diligence is a grey area, so you don’t want to delay. If you think you’ve got a claim, you need to contact a lawyer.
What Exactly is MDL? How Does it Differ from Multi-County Litigation?
There is not too much difference. They are both considered a mass tort. Multidistrict litigation is a creature of federal law and like in the case of mesh, there are seven different, the last time I looked, seven different MDLs within the transvaginal mesh umbrella, all before one judge. There are also some consolidated state litigations that I would consider mass torts and even more local than that litigation. So, ultimately, the main difference is whether the case is governed by state or federal law.
What is a Class Action Suit and How is it Different from Mass Tort?
A class action is governed by rule 23, federal rule 23 where most states have the same language in their class rule, if they have one.
The main difference in class work is that you have to get the class certified and there are a lot of different requirements that are laid out by the rules that make that quite different whereas in a mass tort, really the issue isn’t certification, it’s one of does this involve common questions of fact and will consolidation or coordination serve the interests of judicial economy. Generally speaking, they are both designed to redress the claims of many people that were harmed in the same way.
How Do Mass Torts Differ from Personal Injury Claims?
Not much at all. You still have the same burden of proof, the difference might be that the discovery process has been streamlined where the plaintiff has to fill out, like, a factsheet that has been agreed upon by the parties as to the pertinent issues in the case, but really it’s not much different than a single event case.
If you’re picked to go to trial, you work the case up in the same way, there’s discovery, there are depositions, experts are retained, experts are disclosed, they are deposed, they are challenged, there is pretrial and then, likely, trial just like any other case. Sometimes MDL cases are sent back to the original jurisdiction for trial, but that’s the exception not the rule.
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