ASK LLP and its attorneys have represented thousands of people across the United States recovering millions of dollars in compensation for their injuries in large, complex mass tort cases. Our mass tort team helps individuals navigate these highly complex litigations against some of the largest corporations in the world. ASK LLP is highly experienced in:
- Drug Injury Lawsuits
- Medical Device Injury Lawsuits
- Product Injury Lawsuits
- Food Poisoning Lawsuits
- Sexual Abuse & Trafficking Lawsuits
- Class Actions & Environmental Disasters
- Recall Lawsuits
What is a Mass Tort?
ASK LLP and its attorneys are highly experienced at representing individuals who have been injured, a case known as a “tort.” Occasionally, a large corporation or other entity engages in courses of action that harm hundreds or thousands of individuals. This type of case is often referred to as a “mass tort.” As explained by the Federal Judicial Center at 342-344), a mass tort emerges “when an event or series of related events injure a large number of people or damage their property.” Mass torts may arise after a faulty product causes a large number of injuries. They may be the result of corporate negligence resulting in undisclosed pharmaceutical side effects, defective medical devices, wildfires, toxic pollution, widespread child abuse, or foodborne illness.
Mass torts often result in high-stakes litigation. Millions or even billions of dollars may be at stake. Large, well-funded corporations often hire teams of expensive lawyers to defend dangerous products, even when they have harmed numerous people. Their highly aggressive legal teams oftentime spend millions of dollars and significant hours defending companies’ bad behaviors even though have been tied to significant injuries, property damage, or even deaths. ASK LLP has the expertise to fight back, seek justice for you, and level the playing field.
In a mass tort litigation, the people injured are referred to as “plaintiffs” in these cases. The entities that plaintiffs claim have caused their injuries are referred to as “defendants.” A mass tort may also be referred to in many other ways. For example, a case could be referred to by the allegedly faulty product (In re: Takata Airbag Products Liability Litigation or In re: Stryker LFIT V40 Femoral Head Products Liability Litigation or In re: Actos (Pioglitazone) Products Liability Litigation). Or a mass tort may be referred to as an “M.D.L.,” multi-district litigation, toxic tort, consolidated proceeding.
You may have also heard the term “class action lawsuit.” Mass torts are somewhat similar, but different from a class action. The main difference is that, in a mass tort situation, the judge is overseeing hundreds or thousands of cases, each typically involving an injured party. The judge in a mass tort litigation manages the cases collectively. The attorneys who represent one or more plaintiffs–the injured individuals – work together, fighting against the defendant companies and their lawyers.
In a class action, often one law firm represents a few plaintiffs who represent the interests of many other individuals. These few plaintiffs represent the interests of others throughout the life of the case–all the way through trial. They often have a single law firm that litigates by itself against a defendant company and its attorneys. Class actions typically involve damages to many people that are very similar and common, and are able to be proven even without having each individual who was harmed appear for trial.
Alternatively, mass torts often involve injured people who may have the same type of injury, but not necessarily the same degree of injury. Mass tort cases usually require some amount of individual proof from each injured individual involved. Nevertheless, because they involve similar injuries and similar defendants, Courts group mass tort cases together at first for the litigation of common issues of law and fact. Often years later, as trial approaches, Courts may order individual trials to proceed if the parties have not reached a global settlement of the cases involved.
In short, a mass tort is a useful tool for aggregating and resolving many injury claims against one or few defendants. While it may take many years to resolve a mass tort, without the ability to form a mass tort, it could take decades for the Courts to resolve thousands of cases.
At ASK LLP, we handle a wide variety of mass tort cases, listed below. Our goal is to get you the compensation you need as quickly and efficiently as possible without sacrificing the value of your eventual award or settlement.
If you feel that your injury may qualify you to join a mass tort, get in touch with our skilled attorneys today so we can start building the best possible claim for the compensation you deserve.
A common mass tort that the lawyers at ASK LLP can help with is an action for compensation due to injuries from defective drugs. Though we often trust medical practitioners and pharmaceutical companies to develop and prescribe medication appropriately, injuries sometimes arise because drugs are improperly labeled or prescribed, or because they are not properly vetted before being released on the market.
Below are just a few examples of mass torts related to defective drugs.
Recently withdrawn by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), diet drug Belviq has been linked to increased incidents of cancer among consumers. Its scientific name is lorcaserin, and its developer, Eisai, Inc., has requested its removal from the market.
Developed by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Elmiron has been used by patients to assist with interstitial cystitis (IC). However, plaintiffs in the Elmiron mass tort allege that the drug causes an eye disorder called maculopathy and may lead to blindness.
Opioids are often used as painkillers and include prescription drugs as well as the “street” drug heroin. Lawsuits allege that opioids have been over-prescribed and that the addictive dangers that led to the current “opioid crisis” of overdose deaths across the nation were ignored by pharmaceutical companies for profit.
According to MedlinePlus, tenofovir is used to combat HIV as well as the hepatitis B virus. A mass tort against the developer, Gilead Sciences, asserts that the company knew its drug heightened the risk of bone problems and kidney infections in users but failed to remove the drug from the market.
Valsartan is a blood pressure medication, but recent lawsuits allege that the drug became contaminated with the cancer-causing agent NDMA and was still sold on the market.
Zantac (also known as ranitidine) is another drug that was reportedly contaminated by NDMA and remained on the market without the public being made aware. The drug has been linked to incidents of stomach, liver, and bladder cancer.
The only shingles vaccine on the market in the U.S. from 2006 to 2017, Zostavax may have caused users to develop shingles, chickenpox, inflammation of the spinal cord, loss of vision, heart failure, autoimmune disorders, and even death in some cases. The resulting mass tort alleges that developer Merck is responsible for these issues through negligence and failing to warn the public. Ongoing litigation, called bellwether cases, will set the stage for future mass torts.
Defective Medical Devices
ASK LLP also takes on mass tort cases that hinge upon defective medical devices. In these claims, the injured person is harmed by a medical device that does not function properly and leads to increased risk for injuries. See examples of defective medical device litigation below.
Breast implants developed by pharmaceutical company Allergan are alleged to contain cancer-causing elements. The rare cancer caused by these devices is known as Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL).
IVC (inferior vena cava) filters are medical devices designed to catch blood clots. However, a growing number of plaintiffs allege that the devices may break off inside the body, move from their initial positions, injure internal organs or veins, and even cause death.
Surgical staplers are used mainly for minor surgeries. However, recent lawsuits have asserted that defective staplers fail to inject the correct number of staples, leaving victims with internal bleeding that may cause serious health concerns or death. Plus, there is some evidence that risks regarding surgical stapler malfunctions were kept from the public.
Spinal Cord Stimulators
Among the highest instances of fault medical device claims, spinal cord stimulators are designed to send electrical signals through the spinal cord to block pain receptors for people with chronic pain. However, lawsuits allege that these devices often fail, causing pain and shock-like symptoms in patients and leaving some unable to walk or function normally.
AFFF Firefighting Foam/PFOA and PFOS Chemical Exposure
According to U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), AFFF (aqueous film-forming foam) is a firefighting tool that contains harmful chemical compounds known as PFOA and PFOS. Over time, exposure to these chemicals may cause a higher-than-average risk of developing testicular, kidney, or bladder cancer, as well as thyroid disease.
A popular alternative to cigarettes, JUUL, like other e-cigarette brands, is alleged by many plaintiffs to contain ultra-high levels of nicotine incomparable to normal cigarettes. These levels of nicotine contributed to e-cigarette addiction in users, with many developing health problems like seizures, strokes, and lung diseases.
ASK LLP is highly experienced in food poisoning cases. We fight for compensation for individuals across the United States who have suffered injuries from food poisoning outbreaks. Examples of food poisoning lawsuits include:
- Salmonella Outbreaks
- E. coli Outbreaks
- Norovirus Outbreaks
- Listeria Outbreaks
- Botulism Outbreaks
- Hepatitis A Outbreaks
- Shigella Outbreaks
- Campylobacter Outbreaks
- Cyclospora Outbreaks
Sexual Abuse & Trafficking
In recent years, controversy has surrounded the Boy Scouts of America as well as Catholic and Protestant churches alike. It has come to light that many young people in these organizations may have been sexually abused or preyed upon by leaders in positions of power (including scout leaders, chaperones, members of clergy, and others).
Legal reforms, such as New York’s Child Victims Act, make it possible for the victims of sexual abuse to file lawsuits for compensation even when the usual statute of limitations has expired. With the passage of these new laws, many thousands of individuals have joined mass torts against public and private school systems, community organizations like the Boy Scouts, and religious institutions like the Catholic Church, alleging that these entities failed to protect them from predatory behavior.
If you suffered sexual abuse while at school, in the Scouts, or from religious leaders, you may be entitled to compensation even if the abuse happened decades ago. The organization may owe you for:
- Physical and emotional distress
- The cost of necessary medical care or therapy
- Punitive damages
Class Actions & Environmental Disasters
The team at ASK LLP is experienced in class action cases and environmental disasters. These cases are often complex and highly contested. Expensive experts battle over scientific evidence. ASK LLP has the ability and experience to successfully navigate these difficult cases. Our experience includes:
- Consumer Class Actions
- Mislabeled Food
- Consumer Fraud
- Rip-Off Lawsuits
- Data Privacy Breach
- Deceptive Practices
- Whistleblower & Qui Tam Lawsuits
- Fraud on the Government
- Corporate Wrongdoing
- Antitrust Lawsuits
- Toxic & Environmental Disasters
Join the Fight for Justice Today
If you have a case that stems from a faulty medical device, defective drug, or an organization that may have affected many other people as well, you might have cause to join a mass tort. Get in touch with the experienced legal team at ASK LLP today and learn more about your options for justice and compensation.
By bringing a mass tort claim, you retain your ability to get justice while adding your voice to the movement for change.