Big cases make big headlines. From industrial accidents to financial wrongdoing, any time a company makes big, expensive mistakes, people can be harmed. These well-known multiple party lawsuits are, to date, the biggest verdicts ever made.
- Multi-state Big Tobacco Settlement Agreement, $206 billion (1998)
- Volkswagen Emissions, 2016 ($14.7 billion)
- Enron Securities, 2006 ($7.2 billion)
- Exxon-Valdez Oil Spill Litigation, 2001 ($5 billion)
- Worldcom Securities Class Action, 2005 ($6.2 billion)
- Dow Corning Breast Implant Litigation, 1998 ($3.2 billion)
While most collective lawsuits don’t have such large payouts, grouping with other plaintiffs to file against a common defendant can have a bigger impact than just one individual lawsuit. However, there are two distinct types of these lawsuits. Here, we’ll discuss the two and detail the differences.
Multiple Party Lawsuits
Sometimes a large number of people find themselves embroiled in a type of negligence and want to file suit against a company or company as a result. These can be:
- Defective drugs
- Medical devices
- Defective consumer products
- Data breaches
- Employment/labor issues
- Securities and other financial products
There are two types of these lawsuits with different procedures:
- Class Action suits, where a large number of defendants comprise a single party and have a class representative, with one trial for all of the defendants
- Mass Tort suits, where a number of individuals with similar complaints file a collective lawsuit and can each have their own trial
This is designed to help reduce the number of actions brought into court and streamline the process for the benefit of the court as well as the plaintiffs.
The Class Action Lawsuit
These lawsuits are frequently used for large numbers of plaintiffs who suffered the same type of issue with the plaintiff. From annoying phone calls that the recipient did not opt-in for to defective and dangerous products, a single lawsuit is filed on behalf of the “class,” or all of the plaintiffs in the complaint, against a single defendant.In order to be a party, a plaintiff must consent to be enjoined in the “class,” or opt-out of the action. The individual must opt-in early in the process before a success rate is established for the eventual settlement.The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure establish these requirements for any class action lawsuit:
- The class is so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable
- There are questions of law or fact common to the class
- The claims or defenses of the representative parties are typical of the claims or defenses of the class
- The representative parties will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class
Prior to the lawsuit’s filing, a potential representative must file a motion in court to act on behalf of the entire class of plaintiffs.
The Mass Tort Lawsuit
If these requirements cannot be met, a mass tort lawsuit is more appropriate.Generally, mass torts are filed on behalf of individual plaintiffs who suffered damage from a common defendant, but the injuries are not exactly the same. This is frequently the case with dangerous drugs or defective consumer products since the individual’s reactions are generally not the same.The cases are filed together, but the plaintiffs are treated individually. Attorneys (or a group of attorneys) can represent each individual plaintiff to ensure that they are receiving a fair settlement. Discovery findings can be used for all of the cases rather than each case being subjected to an individual investigation. Pooling these resources means that the cases are handled much more efficiently.
Class Action Or Mass Tort—Popham Is Fighting For Your Rights
When we represent you, we will fight for your claim and makes sure that you are compensated by the company responsible. Whether you choose to participate in a class-action suit or file a mass tort suit, Popham Law has the experience to represent you and make sure you receive the maximum compensation available.For a free consultation with the KC attorneys at Popham Law, contact our law office today at (844) 243-2288.