What Is a Mass Tort?

You may be wondering, “What is a mass tort?” However, you may have at least seen examples of mass torts on television. Commercials discussing legal action taken against companies and government agencies that committed one or more acts of negligence that caused illness and injuries air throughout each day. Two examples of mass tort legal actions concern the Bayer herbicide Roundup and the Marine Base called Camp Lejeune. 

In both cases, a class of plaintiffs filed a lawsuit seeking monetary damages for the serious health consequences suffered because the defendant committed one or more acts of negligence. In the Roundup case, the mass tort action claimed Bayer exposed property owners to dangerous toxic, cancer-causing chemicals. The Camp Lejeune mass tort alleges the United States Department of Defense exposed soldiers stationed at Camp Lejeune to water contaminated with harmful substances.

At Morgan and Morgan, our mass tort attorneys help clients determine whether they should file an individual lawsuit or join a mass tort lawsuit that covers the same legal issues. We stay on top of the developments of every mass tort lawsuit to help our clients decide if the time is right to join other plaintiffs. To learn more about filing or joining a mass tort lawsuit, schedule a free case evaluation with one of the experienced lawyers at Morgan and Morgan.

What Do I Need to Know About a Mass Tort?

As a type of personal injury lawsuit, a mass tort is a civil action taken against a defendant that requests just compensation for the costs associated with sustaining one or more injuries, as well as the costs associated with suffering from a serious illness. In both the Roundup and Camp Lejeune mass tort lawsuits, the class of plaintiffs sought monetary damages to cover the costs associated with diagnosing and treating different types of cancer. Although just one person files a mass tort lawsuit as the lead plaintiff, a large group of co-plaintiffs has the right to join the mass tort lawsuit.

The lead plaintiff receives legal support from one or more attorneys, while co-plaintiffs have the opportunity to seek legal representation from different lawyers or law firms. Since 1988, Morgan and Morgan's mass tort attorneys have served as the legal counsel for lead plaintiffs and co-plaintiffs who have joined a mass tort lawsuit.

What Are the Advantages of Filing/Joining a Mass Tort Lawsuit?

If many plaintiffs want to file the same type of civil lawsuit seeking monetary damages, combining all the individual lawsuits into a mass tort legal action might be the best option to receive compensation, especially if the mass tort lawsuit is filed against a large international corporation such as Bayer. Filing a mass tort lawsuit carries more significance in a courtroom than filing an individual lawsuit. You also pay less in legal fees, as the cost of legal representation is spread over dozens of plaintiffs. With fewer cases litigating the same type of case clogging up the judicial system, filing a mass tort lawsuit might lead to a quicker resolution of your case.

At Morgan and Morgan, we encourage our clients to file or join mass tort lawsuits if that gives them the best chance of receiving just compensation for the financial losses caused by one or more acts of negligence. Not only can filing a mass tort lawsuit result in the awarding of monetary damages, but the judge hearing your case might also order the defendant to make certain changes that prevent the same type of negligence from occurring again. The class of plaintiffs that join a mass tort lawsuit, along with the lead plaintiff, have the right to request changes in how the defendant conducts business in the future.

Do Mass Tort Cases Take a Long Time to Resolve?

Since each mass tort lawsuit introduces unique legal issues, it is difficult to quantify how long it takes for a mass tort lawsuit to resolve. However, because mass tort lawsuits consolidate many individual civil lawsuits that address the same legal issues, a reduction in the number of cases moving through the judicial system can speed up the litigation process. Nonetheless, some mass tort cases involve working out highly complex legal issues, such as determining when the water at Camp Lejeune started to become contaminated.

Another factor that can shorten the time it takes to resolve a mass tort lawsuit regards negotiating a settlement. Attorneys for both the defendant and the class of plaintiffs try to negotiate a settlement to avoid a costly and time-consuming civil trial. Some mass tort lawsuits, such as the ones involving Bayer’s Roundup and Camp Lejeune’s contaminated water, receive considerable media scrutiny. Media attention tends to slow down legal proceedings. The discovery phase of a mass tort lawsuit, which allows both parties to exchange evidence and information, often is the reason why both parties agree to negotiate a settlement.

Get the Legal Support You Deserve

Even as a co-plaintiff, hiring one of the accomplished mass tort attorneys at Morgan and Morgan ensures the lead plaintiff makes favorable decisions for the co-plaintiffs. Your lawyer might help the lead plaintiff’s lawyers acquire the type of medical evidence that convinces the judge hearing your case to award a significant amount in monetary damages.

Act with a sense of urgency today by scheduling a free case evaluation with a mass tort attorney from Morgan and Morgan.