Mass Tort and Class Action Lawyers
Handling Complex Types of Litigation
Mass torts and class actions for environmental claims and product liability are among the most complex types of litigation. Often, defendants will claim that other parties either have ultimate liability or shared liability for damages. Successfully representing clients in mass tort litigation requires an in-depth understanding of state and federal tort law, local regulatory law and general case law regarding recent decisions under similar circumstances.
What’s the Difference Between Class Action Suits and Mass Torts?
A class action suit is a lawsuit in which one plaintiff is designated to represent a large group of people that were affected by the same set of circumstances, and share the same injuries or negative consequences. Class action suits are intended to declutter the court system but taking a large number of the essentially the same case and tying them all into the same case. That way, the courts aren’t clogged up dealing with the same problem over and over again.
Class action suits have many different aspects, and plaintiffs must be prepared to meet several different criteria when filing this type of lawsuit. These requirements and criteria are:
- Every individual involved in the “class” (group of people filing the lawsuit) must be told about the lawsuit and given the choice to remain within the class, or seek their own private counsel.
- Before the lawsuit is filed, a court motion must be filed allowing one plaintiff to represent the entire class.
- That plaintiff must be able to prove that their situation, and the resulting injuries or damages, are typical of other people within the case.
- The compensation or damages being sought must not be worth the time and effort of each individual hiring their own attorneys.
Mass torts are sometimes mistaken for class action lawsuits by those wishing to file a lawsuit, because the two do hold some similarities. Like class action lawsuits for instance, mass torts are also designed to reduce the number of cases clogging up the already-packed court system. Other than that however, mass torts are different than class action suits.
While class action lawsuits typically deal with the same problem experienced by a number of people, mass torts deal with a broader range of claim types, typically dealing with product liability and consumer products and recalls (such as 3M defective earplugs or defective auto parts. Because these types of cases can affect people very differently, the cases as a group do not typically fit into a single class, as class action suits do.
In the case of mass torts, one personal injury attorney, or several, can handle the case, but often the plaintiffs will choose to hire their own attorney. The benefit to this is that any evidence found by one attorney can be shared with all other attorneys working on the same mass tort.
Because they deal with many different plaintiffs, damages, and amounts of compensation, mass torts are much more complicated than class action suits, and they take much longer to settle in court.
There are advantages to filing with a class action, but they also have their downsides. Mainly, they take a long time in court and the members of the class often have very little control over how things are handled, or what settlement they receive. This leaves many injured parties wondering if they should take part in a class action, or file their own case privately.
The answer really lies in what type of settlement you think you’ll get. Of course, here at Rhine Law Firm, P.C., we’re always striving to get the utmost compensation available for our clients. But sometimes, even when the case is argued perfectly and won, the amount of that settlement is very small. And when that’s the case, it might be more worthwhile to go with a class action rather than a private lawsuit.
For instance, if a doctor was overcharging their patients with every bill, making up for approximately $100 in damages sought, the time and effort it would take to hire an attorney and go through the court systems just isn’t worth it. Clients would be spending thousands of dollars in order to get the $100 in compensation that they seek. However, by joining a class action suit, those same clients can contribute a small amount of the attorney’s cost, and still get their full compensation.
Whether or not you join a class action is a personal decision, and one that you’ll have to make after weighing out all the options for your case. Typically however, the rule of thumb is that if you’re only going to get a small amount of damages and a class action lawsuit is available, they’re typically the better choice. If however, you’ve suffered significant injuries that are eligible for significant compensation, and those injuries are very different than the injuries suffered by others in the suit, you’ll probably be better off filing a private lawsuit of your own.
A person suffers from a hernia when an organ, intestine, or fatty tissue erupts through a hole or weakened area in the surrounding muscle or connective tissue. Hernias are painful and often require surgical repair. During surgery, a mesh is often used to close the hole and provide support to the weakened tissue. Unfortunately, this surgical mesh is often defective and causes the patient to suffer even more.
- Atrium C-Qur Mesh
- Bard Ventralex ST
- Bard 3D Max
- Covidien Parietex Plug & Patch
When a hernia mesh is defective, it can cause serious problems for a patient. They may experience:
- Adhesions, typically from mesh devices that are coated
- Joint pain
- Infections requiring removal of the mesh
- Migration of the mesh
- Bunching the mesh
- Abdominal pain caused by the mesh
- Renal failure
- Bowel obstructions
- Liver issues
- Neurological changes
Any of these complications may indicate the surgical mesh was defective or not inserted correctly. When that is the case, patients may be entitled to compensation for their injuries.
Roundup is the most common herbicide used in agricultural applications throughout the United States. In 2017, regulators began requiring warning labels on Roundup products after finding a link between the weed-killer and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Even so, Monsanto, the company that manufacturers Roundup, continues to sell its product, putting millions of people at risk.
In addition to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Roundup has been linked to other types or cancers as well. These include:
- Anaplastic T-cell cancers
- Cutaneous T-cell cancers
- Large diffuse B-cell cancers
- Primary central nervous system lymphoma
- Chronic lymphocytic lymphoma
- Follicular lymphoma
- Mantle cell lymphoma
Monsanto has been held responsible in the past, and anyone currently suffering as a result of their products may file an individual lawsuit or join one of the many class actions throughout the country.
Attorney Joel Rhine has been one of the most recognized trial lawyers in the Wilmington area for more than 30 years. He will thoroughly review your case and aggressively work to protect your rights and financial interests. He has the experience and capacity to serve as lead plaintiff counsel or co-counsel with knowledge of the local court process and courts.
This combination led to a spike in “condo defects” such as those associated with water entry, including mold and structural failures. Defects are also common in swimming pools, walkways, and drainage systems. HOAs and their attorneys often must litigate these claims against developers and contractors, otherwise they risk having to absorb the costs of repair.
We have trial experience in class-action and mass tort litigation involving:
“Joel Rhine and his staff did everything possible to help us in a very dark period of our lives.”
“I couldn’t have asked for a better firm to handle my injury claim. If you do not have confidence with your attorney, you need to contact Rhine Law Firm immediately.”
“Rhine Law Firm went out of their way to make sure that my mother-in-law obtains everything she is entitled to in an injury case.”
“It was a long, arduous process and we cannot thank Joel and the rest of the team at Rhine Law Firm enough.”
“Joel will make sure you are well taken care of. He will fight for you and what you deserve and go to all measures to make sure you get it.”
Whether you are an individual plaintiff or are seeking a professional referral relationship, Rhine Law Firm, P.C., in Wilmington offers a no-cost consultation and case evaluation.
If you are an attorney seeking a professional referral relationship, are part of a class-action litigation matter or need professional trial counsel in any personal injury, environmental or civil litigation matter in North Carolina, call us at (910) 772-9960 or use the convenient email contact form to request a return phone call. Office hours 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Evening and weekend appointments also available.
We are proud to serve the people of North Carolina.
Although our primary office location is in Wilmington, North Carolina we represent clients nationally and across the state of North Carolina. Some of the many areas we serve are listed below.
Contact our Firm
Schedule Your Free Initial Consultation