Will I Have To Go To A Special Court To Pursue My Mass Tort Claim?

If there is a consolidated litigation set up, either an MDL or a state consolidation, in the case of an MDL, if your lawsuit is filed in Federal Court, then you’re going to be transferred to the MDL.

If your case is filed in State Court, you have a local defendant, somebody responsible in whole or part or you’re from the same place as the manufacturer, maybe your case can stay in State Court and be tried in State Court and not be transferred to the MDL, but generally speaking, if there is an MDL and you’re in a Federal Court, you’re going to be transferred to the MDL.

Can I Pursue a Solitary Case Against a Company Involved in an Ongoing Mass Tort Claim?

It really depends. Typically, the answer would be no, but if, for example, you had a mesh implant in the State of Alabama where there are no mesh companies here, you would normally have to file your case in Federal Court. You could file in State Court, but it would be removed to Federal Court because of complete diversity between the parties.

Let’s say that the implanting physician made a mistake, used a recalled product, or didn’t use the mesh in the right way, or was negligent in that surgery, if you felt that you had claims against the surgeon as well as the manufacturer of the mesh, you could file those in State Court because you have a surgeon who is not diverse, he is located and doing business in the State of Alabama, so that would be a way that your case would not end up in the MDL.

What is the Step by Step Process in a Mass Tort Case?

There are really two ways to get there. One would be to direct file. Typically, there is an order entered early when the case is consolidated that allows people to direct file and there is a master complaint or a short form complaint that is agreed upon and basically, you just plug in your plaintiff’s information and you can file directly into that court.

A lot of times, you don’t even have to be licensed in that particular state as long as you’re in good standing in any federal court in the country. On the other hand, you could file in your state or Federal Court system in your state, assuming that it’s not the state where the MDL is or that jurisdiction and eventually, your case would probably be, if it was filed in State Court, removed to Federal Court and transferred to the MDL, or you could file directly in the Federal Court and then it would be transferred.

How Long Do Mass Tort Claims Typically Take to Resolve?

I’ve seen cases go to MDL and be resolved in pretty short order, all things considered. That’s not typical. Most MDL dockets take several years to be fully resolved. I’m sure that there are plenty of people in the mesh litigation that have had their case pending for five years now and no end in sight with some of the manufacturers of the products that think they can defeat these cases, or simply string them out as long as they can and hope that the lawyers and plaintiffs get frustrated and want to settle for much less than what they should. If I had to guess, I’d say the typical case is anywhere between two and four years.

How Does Someone Get Compensated in a Mass Tort Claim?

The issue of compensation can vary. Typically, there are bellweather or “trial pick” cases selected by both sides – plaintiff and defense. These cases are worked up as any other case – discovery, depositions, experts and pretrial motions. This helps narrow the issues and, if the system works, set somewhat of a value for the level of compensation, if any, that should be awarded, based on how representative the trial pick cases are of the rest of the cases. In other words, there are, for lack of a better term, “test cases” used to help both sides determine if the claims are viable and, if so, how the plaintiff should be compensated. The test cases can then be used to determine the value of the other cases. This is helpful to both sides, in my opinion, because it helps resolve claims on an aggregate or group basis, and also helps the product manufacturer understand its liability across the board.

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