Frequently Asked Questions About Mass Torts
Here, you can find some of the most commonly asked questions and answers about mass tort cases. Browse these FAQs, and our answers, to learn more about your rights and possible recovery if a dangerous drug or defective medical device has left you injured.
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What is the difference between a class action case and a mass tort case?
Mass tort and class action cases are not the same. While both types of legal cases involve many plaintiffs with similar injuries from the same product, class actions and mass tort cases work differently, and the potential outcome for plaintiffs in each case is different. If you are injured by a defective medical device or dangerous medication, then it is important to know which kind of case might bring you the financial recovery that you deserve.
How Class Action Cases Work
A class action case allows all of the people with similar injuries from the same product to work together as one plaintiff. Class action cases must be established by the court. According to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a class action may be established if the following four criteria are met:
- There are so many potential plaintiffs that joining them is impractical
- There are questions of law or fact that are common to all of the plaintiffs
- The claims and defenses of the representative parties are typical of the claims and defenses of the whole class
- The representatives of the class will represent the interest of the class fairly
Individuals can opt-in or choose to be part of the class of plaintiffs. Acting together as one plaintiff, the individuals with injuries can share in the costs of discovering evidence, hiring legal counsel, hiring expert witnesses, and other litigation costs.
Since there are often many people in the class of plaintiffs, a representative plaintiff, also known as a lead plaintiff, may represent the group’s legal interests, but all plaintiffs will share in the damages awarded by the court or negotiated in settlement talks just as they share in litigation costs. A plan of distribution is typically developed and approved by the court to determine how much the plaintiffs will receive and the order in which they will be paid.
How Mass Tort Cases Work
Mass tort cases are different. In mass tort cases, like in class action cases, many injured people come together to sue a defendant for their injuries from the same product. However, in mass tort cases, the plaintiffs do not join together as one class.
Each plaintiff must file an individual lawsuit, and each plaintiff will obtain a personalized recovery.
Mass tort cases may be consolidated before one judge in a process known as multidistrict litigation (MDL). MDL allows one judge to preside over discovery and pretrial matters in cases that are alike. If a settlement is not reached, however, the case may go back to its original court for trial.
Benefits of Mass Tort Lawsuits
There are several benefits to joining a mass tort lawsuit rather than bringing your own case against a pharmaceutical company or another defendant. In a mass tort case, you:
- Get an individualized recovery. Your potential damages will be based on your own losses.
- Share in the costs of discovery and litigation. By sharing costs with others who have been hurt, you may have the financial resources to get the information you need from a large and well-funded defendant.
- May get a quicker recovery. Mass tort cases often move through the courts faster than individual cases.
- Can have your own attorney. You hire the lawyer whom you want to represent you and not the attorneys hired by other plaintiffs whom you’ve never met.
Contact a Mass Tort Lawyer If You Suffer a Pharmaceutical Injury
There are a lot of complicated legal decisions that need to be made to protect your recovery if you have been hurt by a medication, medical device, or another product.
Our dedicated legal team is here to help you if you have been hurt in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, or New Hampshire. We will thoroughly review your claim and advise you of your rights—free of charge. In addition to providing free consultations, our mass tort attorneys are paid on a contingency fee basis, meaning that you only owe legal fees if your claim is successful.
To learn more about your rights, your legal options, and your possible recovery, please fill out our online contact form or call us directly to schedule your free, no-obligation case evaluation.
What are the Monsanto Papers?
One of the key issues in Roundup® lawsuits is what Monsanto, the company that makes Roundup®, knew about the product’s safety and when it knew it. The Monsanto Papers is a collection of texts, emails, memoranda, studies, and other documents that were discovered during Roundup® litigation that identify what Monsanto knew about the possible dangers of Roundup® and when the company knew this critical information.
What Is in the Monsanto Papers?
In 2017 and again in 2019, information from the Monsanto Papers became declassified, and they are now available to the public.
In 2018 an article entitled The Monsanto Papers: Poisoning the Scientific Well was published in the International Journal of Risk and Safety in Medicine. The study’s author looked at 141 declassified documents in the Monsanto papers to see if Monsanto was influencing how scientific studies about the safety of glyphosate were reported. Glyphosate is the main ingredient in Roundup®. The study found that:
- Monsanto sponsored ghostwriting of articles published in toxicology reports and the media.
- Monsanto interfered with the peer-review process of its research.
- Monsanto created a website that appeared to be an academic website, but that was not an academic website to defend its products.
Additionally, the Monsanto papers reveal:
- Monsanto wrote articles and claimed that they were written by research scientists who did not write them.
- Monsanto was informed that the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) would issue a finding that glyphosate is potentially carcinogenic before the IARC’s finding was public. This allowed Monsanto to prepare a response before the news became public.
- Monsanto may have influenced the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) review of glyphosate safety.
- Monsanto failed to disclose information about how the human body absorbs glyphosate.
Together, the information in the Monsanto Papers indicates that Monsanto knew Roundup® could be a serious health risk and took steps to hide the risk from government regulators and the public.
Why the Monsanto Papers Matter
The Monsanto Papers may provide valuable evidence in your case if you have developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma from Roundup® exposure. Specifically, the texts, emails, memoranda, and other documentation may show that Monsanto knew of the Roundup® risks and failed to warn the public about those risks.
However, the Monsanto Papers alone will not be enough to prove your case. To recover damages, you will need to prove that Roundup® caused your cancer. Your attorney may use documentation of your history of Roundup® exposure, your medical records, other documentation, and expert testimony to make this critical connection for the court.
Fight for the Recovery You Deserve
Several people with non-Hodgkin lymphoma from Roundup® use have successfully pursued lawsuits, and they have been awarded millions of dollars—or more—in damages.
Now, our lawyers and the public know more about glyphosate safety and Monsanto’s actions than we did a few years ago, and our Roundup® injury lawyers will fight hard to get each of our client’s the fair recoveries that they deserve.
If you have non-Hodgkin lymphoma from Roundup® exposure, then your damages should include compensation for past and future:
- Healthcare costs. All medical costs including but not limited to medications, surgeries, doctors’ appointments, and hospitalizations should be included in your recovery.
- Lost income. Any income that you cannot earn because of your non-Hodgkin lymphoma should be part of your recovery. This includes wages, benefits, bonuses, and income from self-employment.
- Physical pain and emotional suffering. Your physical pain and your emotional suffering are likely among your most significant damages. These damages can be hard to quantify because there are no receipts or pay stubs to present as evidence. However, your lawyer can offer the right evidence to make sure that you are fairly compensated for your pain and suffering.
- Other compensatory damages. Any other out-of-pocket expenses, including things like transportation costs or funeral costs that are directly associated with your injuries, should be compensable.
- Punitive damages. Monsanto should be held accountable for its actions. Punitive damages seek to punish the defendant rather than to compensate the plaintiff for injuries. However, the practical effect of punitive damages is to provide the plaintiff with additional financial damages. Many of the Roundup® non-Hodgkin lymphoma cases have resulted in significant punitive damage awards.
To learn more about your rights and to protect your recovery, please contact our Roundup® injury lawyers today for a free, no-obligation consultation.