If you suffered an illness or injury due to another person’s negligence, you might be entitled to compensation. You have a right to hold people, businesses, and other entities accountable for the harm they cause. A mass tort case typically involves a large company, such as a medical device company or drug manufacturer. Errors in the manufacturing process often result in defects that can lead to injuries and other medical problems for the user.
At FrancoLaw, we understand the trauma one can experience when injured by a defective product. It’s something that can upend your entire life and interfere with your everyday routine. You can depend on us to work hard to build your case and try to achieve a favorable outcome. We will aggressively pursue the maximum compensation possible so you can heal and move forward with your life.
For a free consultation to discuss the circumstances of your injury and determine the available legal options, call FrancoLaw today at (888) 213-0761.
What Is a Mass Tort?
A tort is an omission or act that causes someone’s injury. Some torts are accidental; others are intentional. In either case, the injured victims can file a civil lawsuit to recover compensation for their damages. A mass tort is a single wrongful action that causes injury to many different people. These injured people can come together in a single mass tort lawsuit, seeking justice for their various injuries against one or multiple defendants.
The terms “mass tort” and “class action” are two distinct legal terms. Both types of cases provide similar outcomes and are often confused, but each is handled very differently. The key difference between mass torts and class actions has to do with how, procedurally, the large group of plaintiffs is treated.
A class action is a type of legal action where a lawsuit is filed on behalf of an entire group of people who share a set of common circumstances, damages and injuries that resulted from the defendant’s wrongful conduct. In a class action the large group of plaintiffs, known collectively as the “class”, are represented by a class representative, who stands in for the rest of the class. This means all members of the class are treated as one plaintiff, not separately. These proceedings are designed to cut down on the number of court cases that arise when many are harmed by the same problem.
The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure have established the following criteria for class action lawsuits:
- The class is so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable;
- There are questions of law or fact common to the class;
- The claims or defenses of the representative parties are typical of the claims or defenses of the class; and
- The representative parties will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class.
A mass tort lawsuit is different. Mass tort action is often used when one of the legal criteria for a class action lawsuit is not met. In most cases, mass tort claims are filed when consumers are injured on a large scale by defective drugs or products. As reactions to defective drugs or products differ greatly from individual to individual, these cases rarely fit into a single class.
Contrary to popular belief, class actions rarely apply to personal injury claims. Mass tort lawsuits are generally more complicated than class action lawsuits as they do not necessarily follow standard legal procedure.
A mass tort lawsuit typically involves the following:
- Large group of plaintiffs have been allegedly harmed
- Same common defendants are alleged to have caused that harm
- The lawsuit is consolidated into one action, and not separate individual lawsuits
Although plaintiffs in a mass tort are part of a large group, each member is still treated as an individual. This means that each plaintiff must prove certain facts, including how each person was injured by the defendant.
There are many benefits to participating in a mass tort action, including the ability to navigate many of the pre-trial proceedings together with other plaintiffs, sharing each other’s investigations, discoveries, resources, and ideas.
Types of Mass Tort Cases We Handle
Our firm handles a range of personal injury and product liability cases for our clients. When you hire us, we will work tirelessly to hold the negligent party accountable for their actions and recover the compensation you deserve.
FrancoLaw provides results-oriented representation in mass tort cases involving:
The continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine is a device used to help people with sleep apnea breathe throughout the night. The CPAP devices made by Philips between 2009 and 2021 were voluntarily recalled because of foam liners used in the machines. According to the company, the polyurethane sound abatement foam used in the devices could break down into small particles and off-gas potentially carcinogenic chemicals into the device’s air pathway that the user can inhale or swallow. The FDA identified the Philips CPAP device recall as a Class 1, the agency’s most serious type of recall. According to the FDA, swallowing or inhaling these particles or gasses can result in serious injury, which can be life-threatening, cause permanent impairment, and require medical intervention to prevent permanent damage.
IVC filters are small, cage-like devices that are surgically implanted into the inferior vena cava (IVC) to capture blood clots and prevent them from reaching the heart and lungs. The inferior vena cava is the main artery returning blood from the lower half of the body to the heart. IVC filters are frequently placed in patients at risk for pulmonary embolism (a blood clot in the lungs) when anticoagulant therapy cannot be used or is ineffective. Since their introduction, the FDA has received thousands of adverse event reports involving these filters. Types of reports include device migration, filter fracture, embolization (movement of the entire filter or fracture fragments to the heart or lungs), perforation of organs and difficulty removing the device. Defects in the device can lead to a range of issues that can cause serious and sometimes fatal injuries to the patient.
Taxotere is a chemotherapy drug commonly used in the treatment of breast cancer. Although chemotherapy often causes patients to lose their hair, it eventually grows back. Using Taxotere increases the risk of developing alopecia or permanent hair loss. Alopecia isn’t life-threatening, but it can cause a range of psychological problems, including depression and anxiety. The manufacturer didn’t adequately warn patients of these serious risks.
PPIs, including Prilosec, Nexium, and Prevacid, work by reducing acid in the user’s stomach to treat and manage ulcers, heartburn, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), esophagitis, and other conditions caused by too much stomach acid. Researchers discovered that prolonged use of these medications can increase the risk of serious medical problems, such as kidney disease, renal failure, and acute interstitial nephritis.
Consistent exposure to Roundup has been linked to an increased risk of developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The active ingredient glyphosate has been labeled a probable carcinogen by the World Health Organization and International Agency for Research on Cancer.
Baby powder and other products containing talcum powder can become contaminated with asbestos and can lead to various forms of cancer, including ovarian, uterine, and fallopian tube cancers. It has been alleged that Johnson & Johnson knew about the ovarian cancer risk and failed to warn women using these products while it continued to sell and promote products containing talcum powder despite the potentially life-altering consequences for their customers. In May 2020, J&J finally discontinued selling talcum-based baby power in the U.S. and Canada.
Hundreds of thousands of veterans, military families, and civilian workers stationed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina between 1953 and 1987 may have been exposed to contaminated water on the base. Significantly elevated levels of chemical compounds such as TCE, PCE, vinyl chloride, and benzene were discovered at two water treatment facilities on the base in 1985. These compounds have since been linked to a wide range of cancers and other conditions. The government failed to thoroughly test the drinking water at Camp Lejeune for more than three decades, leaving service members and their families exposed to dangerous toxins.
These are just some examples of mass tort cases we currently handle. If you or a loved one has been injured due to an accident, a dangerous drug, defective product, or medical device, you may benefit from a mass tort action. Call FrancoLaw today to learn more about your legal rights.
Compensation Available in a Mass Tort Lawsuit
The amount of compensation you can recover in a mass tort case will depend on specific circumstances. Each person receives an amount based on the factors associated with the severity of their injuries. In other words, if you sustained a minor injury, you would likely not receive the same compensation as someone who suffered a life-threatening complication.
The damages you can recover in a mass tort lawsuit can include the following:
- Medical expenses
- Physical impairment or disfigurement
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Loss of household services
You might also be eligible to pursue exemplary damages. This award punishes the at-fault party for their misconduct instead of compensating the victim for their losses. You must provide clear and convincing evidence of the defendant’s malice, gross negligence, or fraud for a jury to award this type of damages.
At FrancoLaw, we believe in forming a close relationship with our clients. We will get to know you and the circumstances of your case so we can develop the right legal strategy. Our goal is to seek the maximum compensation you deserve so you can recover from your injury and get your life back on track. You don’t have to go through this devastating experience alone. We will remain in your corner until the end.
We understand the financial toll an injury can take. That is why we accept mass tort cases on a contingency fee basis which means our clients will not pay any attorney fees unless we obtain a financial recovery for them. We will work hard to secure the maximum compensation you deserve.
Contact Us Today
At FrancoLaw, we help people harmed by someone else’s misconduct or negligence. We will provide the dependable representation and services you need. It is your right to hold the at-fault party accountable for your injury and you deserve to be compensated for your losses.
A mass tort lawsuit can be a complex procedure to handle. You should have an experienced attorney in your corner. When you hire us, we can take on the responsibility for your case so you can focus on healing from your injury. You won’t feel burdened by the complex aspects of preparing and filing a lawsuit. You can depend on us to handle every step of the process on your behalf.
If you or a loved one has been injured due to an accident, a dangerous drug, defective product, or medical device, you may benefit from a mass tort lawsuit. You can discuss your case with us during a free consultation and receive the legal advice you need to make an informed decision about what to do next. Our firm is experienced in handling mass tort cases and we welcome any questions you may have. Call us now at (888) 213-0761 for a free consultation.