For years, a foreign company marketed its miracle pill. The TV commercials asked, “Do You Have Diabetes?” The company made billions pushing its pill. Slowly, patient after patient began suffering bladder cancer. Then, researchers discovered the pill was defective and dangerous. Yet, it was too late for many people. How many people developed cancer because of the bad pill? How many people suffered injury? Thousands of patients across the United States, including many in Alabama, suffered injury. I represented several of these patients and worked hard to prepare their cases.
Most people understand a car accident that hurts a couple people. Most people understand a work-related accident that hurts an employee. Those cases are very different from a mass tort. A mass tort is when a bad act or bad product harms many different people. Think an explosion that harms hundreds of people. Think a commercial plane crash. Think a defective drug or medical device prescribed to patients across Alabama or the United States.
Because mass torts may involve huge numbers of uniquely injured people, our Federal Courts have developed a special process called Multi-District Litigation (MDL) to handle them. Typically, our Federal Courts will assign a single judge to oversee the pre-trial process for all of the claims. That means a single judge may be overseeing claimants from distant places. In recent years, I’ve represented injured people from Alabama in MDL cases overseen by judges from distant places including New York, California, West Virginia and Florida to name a few. If you are talking to a lawyer about a mass tort injury claim and want to know if he or she really handles those claims, ask if they have been admitted to practice in far away MDL courts. We have. These cases require special attention.