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In mass tort litigation, there is a common product, drug, or medical device which has an exceptionally high failure rate, or people are experiencing problems on a mass scale. It often makes sense when there are lots of potential plaintiffs or injured people to file those cases individually, but put them in one common venue in front of one common judge.

By putting them in front of one common judge, that judge can make consistent pre-trial rulings, as well as consistent evidentiary hearings and rulings. It can also help cut down on the length of time, expense and difficulty in proving your general causation case. For example, if you show generally that IVC filters can cause specific injuries, it applies to everyone who has an IVC filter case, which is one of the benefits of mass tort litigation and one way to explain how mass tort litigation works. If you are a part of IVC filter mass tort litigation, it is very important to contact an experienced Raleigh lawyer to help guide you through your case and give your case the attention it deserves.

Handling Claims

Mass tort litigation can often be an intense and confusing process. With a lawyer’s help, a person who has never been through the process before can understand what they should expect throughout the process. The overall first step is to collect all the medical records. If someone has a surgery coming up to remove the retrievable device, they would want to have their attorneys in place to preserve whatever they remove and then pursue their case in the multidistrict litigation with other filter cases.

Frequently, when handling a mass tort claim, an MDL is formed. For example, the Bard MDL is in Arizona, and a Cook MDL was recently formed. If someone is injured in North Carolina from a Bard device, their case would be filed in the MDL in Arizona. Since the court system is dealing with many hundreds or thousands of people, the defendants and the plaintiffs agree on what is called the plaintiff fact sheet and a short and long form complaint to help expedite the process. Each complaint filed in the MDL essentially has the same allegations.

The court will put in a specific fact related to the individual who is injured, and then after the lawsuit is filed in the MDL, they will have to complete a plaintiff fact sheet which is much more detailed and is like a substituted discovery. They ask questions related to a person’s medical history, and whether they may be claiming lost wages. After filing the plaintiff fact sheet, in most litigation, the case is stayed pending trial.

When there are a couple hundred or thousand cases filed in one common venue, the plaintiff selects a few bellwether cases, and the defendants select a few bellwether cases. Then, depending on the litigation, the court then chooses maybe five or six cases from the total to move forward to trial. As those cases are worked up for trial, anyone else who has a case filed in the MDL may not go to trial because the cases that are selected to move forward are crucial for everyone with an IVC filter case.

What to Expect

If anyone has been in an auto accident in North Carolina or has had a worker’s compensation claim, a mass tort case is going to look different. The reason for this difference is because the process often takes a little bit longer due to the large number of claimants.

It is not a quick process as far as getting your lawsuit filed and handled all the way to resolution. A person should, however, still expect updates from their attorney, to be able to speak with their attorney, to get updates on the litigation generally, on their case specifically, and updates on the investigation. Patience is always necessary when involved in a mass tort case.

Looking for a Mass Tort Litigation Lawyer

When looking for a mass tort litigation lawyer, it is important to be able to sit down in a law office and meet with an attorney face-to-face. Often times, the various numbers people see on TV will lead to someone out of the state, and a person will probably never meet them. In this situation, a person may not even speak with an attorney unless their case is likely to go to trial.

One of the first things to look for is someone who will give real attention to an individual case and not just treat it like another number. The process may take a bit longer, but an attorney should still provide that face-to-face meeting if possible, and give real attention to detail on each client’s case.