Mass Torts

A mass tort is a civil action involving numerous plaintiffs against one or more corporate defendants. In most mass tort cases, the plaintiffs must be suing based on harms caused by a common product, service or event. Mass torts are often used to reduce the number of court cases brought by individuals by allowing attorneys to use their investigative findings for all cases filed and pool their resources to ensure claimants are receiving fair settlements. Permission from the court must be granted in order for a large group of plaintiffs to proceed with filing a mass tort action. If the court grants permission to proceed with a mass tort action, a judge is assigned and may order notice be given of the mass tort action be publicized so others impacted by the same drug may join in the lawsuit if they choose. Plaintiffs, although part of a mass tort action, have an individual claim resulting in individual damages. A separate trial is given to each plaintiff. This is different from a class action, where plaintiffs are not considered individually and there is only one trial.
The most common mass tort claims are:

  • medical devices – such as defective or dangerous products (ex. hip implant recalls)
  • pharmaceutical products – such as prescription or over-the-counter drugs
  • catastrophic events – large scale accidents such as train, airplane, fire or building collapse
  • environmental hazards – chemical or toxic spills (ex. BP spill or asbestos)

Not all personal injury firms or tort lawyers can litigate mass tort claims because of special considerations. The upfront and ongoing costs of litigation include expert witness fees, travel expenses, discovery costs, copying costs and technology costs. These fees run the course of the suit. Mass tort cases can last for years until a settlement is awarded. In addition, a great deal of professional support staff is required to help manage and organize the paperwork side of the claim. Many firms simply cannot support the escalating, massive costs involved with a long-term mass tort claim.

For more information on mass tort claims, call Goldstein, Buckley, Cechman, Rice & Purtz. We will provide a free consultation to discuss your mass tort claim and determine what can be done to protect your rights.

Goldstein, Buckley, Cechman, Rice & Purtz, P.A. has six offices in Southwest Florida. The offices are located in Fort Myers (two offices to serve you), Cape Coral, Naples, Lehigh Acres, and Port Charlotte for your convenience. Call us first at 800-332-9404 or fill out a simple case form today.