A Mass Tort Case is an individual personal injury committed by a large corporation or a pharmaceutical company. This is not a class action. This is your injury, and your case.
A mass tort is fundamentally different than a class action. In a mass tort case, although each person was harmed by the same device or drug, each individual person suffered different injuries. Mass tort actions allow everyone to work together show the damaging effect of a drug or device. Then, each person has their individual case evaluated for the severity of the damage.
Federal court judges are assigned to oversee mass tort claims. For each mass tort, one federal court judge is appointed to handle all the federal court cases in the country. Both the plaintiff (the person bringing the case) and the defense have a steering committee of certain lawyers designated by the Court to guide the cases through the discovery process.
Members of the steering committee do not have any additional rights over individual plaintiffs’ lawyers; rather, they are given the task of formulating discovery demands and depositions and making certain that all of the claims move forward to resolution. Any lawyer bringing a mass tort claim has a right to attend court conferences and pre-trial hearings.
Typically, if a settlement fund is established, each individual plaintiff has their case evaluated for the severity of their damage. The cases are compared for their relative severity and, with the Court’s approval, an injured plaintiff has the right to accept compensation or to proceed individually.
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