Mass Tort Litigation

When defective products or the negligent actions of their makers cause many people to sustain injuries or suffer harm, sometimes it makes sense to pool similar product liability cases together in what is called a mass tort action. This aspect of the legal system allows plaintiffs who may not otherwise have the resources to bring a case against a defendant to join an action and benefit from awards or settlement structures obtained by other plaintiffs.

Mass tort actions are generally funded through contingency fees, which means parties to an action do not have to pay expenses related to the case out of pocket while it works its way through the legal system. Instead, legal representatives only receive compensation (a portion of the award) if the action is successful. This means there is substantially less risk for plaintiffs and it can significantly lower barriers to participating in the action.

Class action lawsuits or mass tort actions?

Unlike class action lawsuits, where a single class of plaintiffs would pursue a claim together and share an award equally, mass tort actions allow for multiple classes of plaintiffs. These plaintiffs may have different interests and assessments of individual damages may vary. Mass tort lawyers often try a few test cases and use the resulting award structure to seek comparable settlements for other cases based on specific markers.

Medical product liability cases are often tried as mass torts because the severity of resulting injuries can vary widely. HSH lawyers have extensive experience handling mass torts relating to such products as:

  • Abilify: The brand name for aripiprazole, Abilify is a commonly prescribed drug used to treat schizophrenia, bipolar (Type II), and various other off-label conditions. A troubling side effect, known but not advertised by its maker, increases impulse control issues linked to problem gambling, alcohol and drug abuse, binge or compulsive eating and hypersexuality.
  • Taxotere: Also known as docetaxel, this commonly prescribed chemotherapy drug can be effective in treatments for cancer patients. However, its manufacturer did not adequately warn prospective patients about its most severe and often permanent side effect – hair loss (alopecia).
  • Transvaginal Mesh: A surgical mesh implanted vaginally to treat pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI), failure to conduct long-term testing has prompted numerous recalls and put many women at risk of serious pain and injury. These include: acute or chronic pain, neuromuscular damage, pain during sexual intercourse (dyspareunia), organ or blood vessel perforation, bleeding or hemorrhage, vaginal scarring or shrinkage due to scarring, recurrence of POP or SUI, mesh erosions, and emotional problems.
  • Hernia Mesh: A product used to strengthen or bridge tissue walls that hold organs in place, some types of this mesh increase the risk of complications from hernia surgery and cause perforation and fissures of the skin and organs and pain due to nerve damage. Particularly serious instances of perforation and infection have resulted in blood poisoning and death.

In these cases, we help determine the extent of your injuries, the damages and compensation you may be entitled to, and whether you would benefit from joining a mass tort action or pursuing your case independently.

At HSH, we believe mass tort actions are an important legal tool that can be used to achieve justice for plaintiffs who have been hurt by the conduct of another party but would otherwise not have the means to pursue their case. Although it may be called a “mass” tort action, we will always treat you as an individual and consider your unique needs and interests, because you are more than just a file to us.

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