A “mass tort” or “class action” lawsuit can provide a very effective means of using “strength in numbers” in order to achieve a fair remedy for a similarly situated group of individuals (a collective group whose claims and damages are typical of one another) without any one person incurring the costs, or without the necessity of thousands of individual, duplicative lawsuits. Though often thought of as being no different, all “class actions” are “mass tort” actions, but not all “mass torts” are actually formal “class action” suits (the requirements for a true “class action” are governed by very specific legal rules, generally applicable in only a small number of situations).
“Mass torts” and “class actions” are generally utilized when a large number of people have been injured by the same wrongful act in a similar fashion. “Mass torts” and “class actions” effectively eliminate the risk of inconsistent decisions in the courts and are often the most effective, efficient, and powerful way of obtaining a recovery for the collective group against a large corporate defendant.
In a “mass tort” or “class action” lawsuit, one or more people file a lawsuit on behalf of them and others who have suffered a similar loss or injury caused by the same wrongdoer. While the subject matter of class action lawsuits can vary widely, two factors are almost always present for every class action:
- the issues involved (fraud; defective product; etc.) are common to all affected;
- the number of individuals affected is so great, it is impracticable to bring them all before the courts individually.
Thus, “mass torts” and “class actions” are very useful in situations involving consumer fraud, deceptive marketing schemes, widespread fraud, widely used defective products, unfair trade practices, and other unlawful activities.
One distinct advantage of “mass tort” and “class action” litigation is that it is very cost-effective; many individuals can be represented at the same time, with the investigative and preliminary work applicable to one client being equally useful for many others. The courts also play an important role in promoting efficiency in “mass torts” and “class actions” by consolidating all the cases before one judge, which assures that all the injured persons will receive fair and consistent treatment.
The class action is one of the few legal remedies the small claimant has against those who command the status quo.
– Justice William O. Douglas (U.S. Supreme Court)
“Mass tort” and “class action” litigation provides the most challenging work in the arena of complex litigation. The litigation is very expensive; due to the potential liability of the defendant is so high, these cases tend to be very well defended by the corporations involved. Jackson & Tucker possess the skill, expertise, and resources to manage the complexities and expense of “mass tort” and “class action” suits. Some “mass torts” and “class actions” the firm has handled in the past have involved:
- Pharmaceutical Drugs
- Defective Products
- Antitrust Claims
- Securities Fraud
- Consumer Fraud
- “Vanishing” Insurance Premiums
- “Race-based” Insurance Practices
- Commercial Finance and Lending Practices