I recently read an article which indicated almost 2/3 of all injured plaintiffs in mass tort cases were unhappy. That’s no surprise! Many of these individuals suffered very serious injuries only to be lost in a system that treats them like numbers rather than people. The article discusses a study by Georgia Law Professor Elizabeth Burch and Federal Judicial Center visiting scholar Margaret Williams.
What is a mass tort? I’ll use the ongoing Zantac injury claims as an example. Zantac was a drug distributed across the United States for many, many years. You could even buy Zantac without a prescription for many years. The claim is that Zantac is defective and causes cancer. You have a common product used by everyone. But, the injuries (cancer in this case) are unique. Every person suffers uniquely and individually. Our office has filed several Zantac personal injury claims. Each of our clients is unique and deserves individual attention.
How are these mass tort claims handled? Our Federal Courts will typically assign the cases to a single judge for pre-trial purposes like discovery. The idea is that it saves time and resources for a single judge to oversee all pre-trial issues. Once your individual claim is ready for trial, it will be transferred back to the Federal Court where you filed the case. You get a trial on your unique injuries and damages. At least, in theory, that’s how it is supposed to work. The process is called Multi-District Litigation (MDL).