CLASS ACTION & MASS TORT
INFORMATION AND WHAT TO DO
When a sizable number of people have suffered similar injuries due to the actions of a corporation, business or individual, it often is more efficient to group the claims together as a class action or mass tort lawsuit rather than handle them as individual claims. Class action and mass tort lawsuits offer an opportunity for groups of people, all of whom have been similarly wronged, to sue collectively. If you suspect that you or a loved one has been seriously harmed by a faulty product, medical device or unsafe prescription drug, your next step should be to contact a knowledgeable attorney to discuss whether you have a valid mass tort claim.
The class action lawyers at Murphy Law Firm LLC, in Baton Rouge, offer experienced legal representation for class action and mass tort lawsuits. We have been helping clients with complex personal injury cases since 1993. Our goal is to help Louisiana families rebuild their lives after a serious injury. Our attorneys understand what requirements must be met under federal law and the Louisiana Civil Code of Procedure Article 591 to pursue a mass tort claim or class action lawsuit. A mass tort case may be tried in Louisiana or in another state, depending on the claims and parties involved. We will help pursue compensation if you have been harmed by a dangerous product, defective medical device or unsafe drug. We offer a FREE consultation to review your injury and discuss your legal option.
What Is A Mass Tort Claim?
Individuals who have been seriously injured or lost a loved one have a legal right to seek compensation for their personal injuries and losses from the maker of the dangerous product. When many people have been harmed by a widely used product such as a prescription drug or medical device, the litigation may become a mass tort. These claims involve hundreds or thousands of people who have suffered harm from a product that has a defect that makes it unsafe.
When people have suffered the same harm, the injury claims may be combined in a single legal action as part of a class action lawsuit to reduce the number of court cases or certain phases of the litigation involving many claims may be consolidated in multi-district litigation.
Class Action Lawsuits
A class action lawsuit is one type of mass tort litigation. A class action lawsuit may be the most efficient way to pursue a complex medical device injury claim if the legal issues in dispute are the same for all plaintiffs in the lawsuit. Class action lawsuits will vary in scope and approach, depending on claims involved. One plaintiff or a small group of plaintiffs will be chosen to represent all of those who have claims.
CHAPTER 5. CLASS AND DERIVATIVE ACTIONS
SECTION 1. CLASS ACTIONS
Art. 591. Prerequisites; maintainable class actions
A. One or more members of a class may sue or be sued as representative parties on behalf of all, only if:
(1) The class is so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable.
(2) There are questions of law or fact common to the class.
(3) The claims or defenses of the representative parties are typical of the claims or defenses of the class.
(4) The representative parties will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class.
(5) The class is or may be defined objectively in terms of ascertainable criteria, such that the court may determine the constituency of the class for purposes of the conclusiveness of any judgment that may be rendered in the case. This prerequisite shall not be satisfied if it is necessary for the court to inquire into the merits of each potential class member’s cause of action to determine whether an individual falls within the defined class.
B. An action may be maintained as a class action only if all of the prerequisites of Paragraph A of this Article are satisfied, and in addition:
(1) The prosecution of separate actions by or against individual members of the class would create a risk of:
(a) Inconsistent or varying adjudications with respect to individual members of the class which would establish incompatible standards of conduct for the party opposing the class, or
(b) Adjudications with respect to individual members of the class which would as a practical matter be dispositive of the interests of the other members not parties to the adjudications or substantially impair or impede their ability to protect their interests; or
(2) The party opposing the class has acted or refused to act on grounds generally applicable to the class, thereby making appropriate final injunctive relief or corresponding declaratory relief with respect to the class as a whole; or
(3) The court finds that the questions of law or fact common to the members of the class predominate over any questions affecting only individual members, and that a class action is superior to other available methods for the fair and efficient adjudication of the controversy. The matters pertinent to these findings include:
(a) The interest of the members of the class in individually controlling the prosecution or defense of separate actions;
(b) The extent and nature of any litigation concerning the controversy already commenced by or against members of the class;
(c) The desirability or undesirability of concentrating the litigation in the particular forum;
(d) The difficulties likely to be encountered in the management of a class action;
(e) The practical ability of individual class members to pursue their claims without class certification;
(f) The extent to which the relief plausibly demanded on behalf of or against the class, including the vindication of such public policies or legal rights as may be implicated, justifies the costs and burdens of class litigation; or
(4) The parties to a settlement request certification under Subparagraph B(3) for purposes of settlement, even though the requirements of Subparagraph B(3) might not otherwise be met.
C. Certification shall not be for the purpose of adjudicating claims or defenses dependent for their resolution on proof individual to a member of the class. However, following certification, the court shall retain jurisdiction over claims or defenses dependent for their resolution on proof individual to a member of the class.
Acts 1997, No. 839, §1, eff. July 1, 1997; Acts 2013, No. 254, §1.
Alternately, the injury claims may be handled as multidistrict litigation. When numerous people file lawsuits in federal courts in different states naming the same defendants and alleging similar injuries, the court may centralize the lawsuits in the same U.S. District Court to handle certain pre-trial stages of the litigation more efficiently, such as discovery.
Unlike class action lawsuits, the individual plaintiffs in multidistrict litigation maintain separate lawsuits. However, plaintiffs in MDL litigation may be subject to aggregated settlements in which a set amount of money is allotted to numerous clients based on their injuries.
Defective products such as defective drugs and medical devices are common types of mass tort claims.
Drug manufacturers should be held accountable when their drugs and medications cause serious harm and when they fail to give adequate warning of side effects that they were aware of or should have known would harm to patients. Our firm has handled class action and mass tort lawsuits that include:
Defective Medical Devices And Other Products
Biomedical companies have a legal responsibility to make and market medical devices that are safe when used as intended and to warn adequately of any known dangers that the product may pose. As a patient, you have a right to expect that the artificial joint, surgical mesh or other medical device used in your surgical procedure will work as intended and will not cause you harm. Unfortunately, problems with some medical devices only become known once the products are being used by doctors, surgeons and medical centers. It is usually the case that neither the patient nor the doctor knew of the risk the medical device posed.
For example, both physicians and patients have filed numerous reports with the FDA about injuries and harmful side effects related to surgical mesh used to repair hernias. The complications that have been associated with hernia mesh include pain, infection, shrinkage, the mesh moving inside the patient’s body, mesh adhesion to internal organs and bowel blockages. Some hernia mesh products have been recalled because of injuries to patients.
A patient who has been harmed by a faulty medical product may have to undergo multiple follow-up procedures to remove the defective medical device and implant another medical device. When a manufacturer pushes a new product onto the market that has not been thoroughly tested or fails to warn adequately of the risks of using the product, they should be held accountable for the injuries caused.
The attorneys at Murphy Law Firm will determine if the medical device that caused your injury is currently the focus of a product recall or ongoing litigation. When you meet with an attorney for a free consultation, it is good idea to bring with you any records or information that you have about the type of medical product that caused your injury, including specific brands.
Contact A Product Liability Attorney
Whether you have been harmed financially or physically, you may be eligible to start or join a class action lawsuit or multi district litigation against the manufacturer responsible for your injury. You will want to work with an experienced law firm that has the resources to pursue a defective product investigation wherever it leads. The attorneys at Murphy Law Firm have been involved in both class action and mass tort ligation and are proud of the compensation that we have won for clients. At Murphy Law Firm, we offer a free consultation to people who have questions about product liability and mass tort claims.