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Multidistrict litigation is the consolidation of mass tort cases. Any related case filed in federal court is consolidated in the multidistrict litigation so that one judge has control over all of the cases that are filed involving the product, medication, or medical device.

It is used to help consolidate cases that have similar issues of law and facts for judicial resources and efficiency, among other reasons. In a MDL, one judge learns about the science and specific issues so that there is consistency in discovery and pre-trial rulings.

Typically, cases involving complex litigation go through multi district litigation. When many people are injured by a common product, for example the dangerous drug Taxotere, but the injury is severe, a multi district litigation may be necessary. The damages the plaintiffs are facing may be personal or financial, but in these type of cases, it makes sense for the individual plaintiffs to file lawsuits and not be bound by someone else’s decisions such as in a mass tort or class action suit.

These cases are important and impactful. Our Winston-Salem Taxotere lawyers have had had a close family member lose their hair from cancer. They know how difficult it can be to beat the cancer, but remain left with the permanent scar in the form of permanent hair loss.

Taxotere MDL

A Taxotere Multi District Litigation (MDL) was formed in September 2016 in the Eastern District of Louisiana. That means that any case filed in any federal court in the country will be transferred to the MDL that was formed, establishing this as a mass tort.

The reason that it makes sense that Taxotere cases become a mass tort, rather than a class action is that each woman has a different injury and different experience. For some, there is permanent hair loss that may not be noticeable to anyone but the woman. For others, the hair loss may be significant. There are many plaintiffs with varying amounts of hair loss between the two extreme cases.

Class Action vs. Multi District

In a class action lawsuit, one injured person, the named party in the lawsuit, would have the authority and ability to bind everyone else in the class to a settlement or resolution in all of the cases.

In mass tort litigations, no one has the authority to bind anyone else to a settlement or agreement. Sometimes, the defense, the company that manufactures the drugs, will agree to a global resolution of all of the cases filed in the MDL. Individual plaintiffs have an opportunity to accept or reject the settlement, but they are not bound based on the decision of another plaintiff.

A MDL case is filed in federal court. Thereafter, any other case filed in federal court that is related to an injury from the product  at the center of the MDL  will be transferred to the location of the MDL. In the case of Taxotere, the case would be transferred to the Eastern District of Louisiana.

Know the Benefits

Benefits for a plaintiff include judicial efficiency and resource sharing. No individual plaintiff has to bear the financial or time burden of going against a million or billion-dollar pharmaceutical company on their own.

If a plaintiff makes the showing that Taxotere can cause permanent hair loss and there were studies that showed this before or while it was on the market so the company knew or should have known that permanent hair loss could result, that finding would apply to every woman that has a Taxotere case, making each individual case about determining the amount of compensation owed, not proving the existence of the fault of the Taxotere makers.