Mass torts and class action lawsuits are similar in many ways:
- Many people are suing because they were harmed
- The people are suing the same defendant(s)
- The lawsuits are grouped into one action instead of separate lawsuits to cut down on the number of expensive court cases
However, MDLs for mass torts and class action lawsuits are not the same thing.
The Difference Between Mass Torts And Class Actions: An Explanation
Each plaintiff in a mass tort is treated as an individual. The group of plaintiffs in a class action is treated as a single plaintiff represented by the same lawyer or team of lawyers.
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What Is A Class Action?
In a class action lawsuit, a group of plaintiffs is considered a class, which is treated as one plaintiff, and this group is represented by a class representative, who stands in for the rest of the class.
The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure establish the needed conditions for a class action lawsuit:
- Joining all class members together is impossible because there are so many members of the class
- Questions of law or fact exist which are common to the class
- The representative parties’ defenses or claims are typical of the defenses or claims of the class
- The interests of the class will be fairly and adequately protected by the representative parties
Those who are given the option to join class actions are typically asked to legally commit to not taking further legal action against the defendant(s). Class action lawsuit outcomes apply to anyone the ruling applies to, even if they weren’t directly involved in the filing.
Class action lawsuit compensation can be very small since it is often divided between many people.
What Is A Mass Tort?
Mass torts are legal actions involving multiple plaintiffs against the same defendant(s). These actions do not meet the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure’s needed conditions for class action lawsuits, typically due the plaintiffs having too many different circumstances.
Most mass tort claims involve consumers injured by defective products or drugs. The plaintiffs are considered individual plaintiffs instead of members of a class which is treated as a single plaintiff. This is because reactions to defective products or drugs can vary greatly from person to person.
What Is An MDL?
A multidistrict litigation, or MDL, occurs when multiple individuals’ lawsuits filed in federal court, often in multiple jurisdictions, are consolidated and transferred to a single federal court, where a single judge oversees the lawsuits and appoints a committee of lawyers to represent the plaintiffs. Congress created MDLs for the purpose of saving time and money.
MDLs may result in mass tort settlements. Plaintiffs may pursue damages via individual lawsuits when MDLs don’t result in compensation.
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Do I Have A Mass Tort Or Class Action Claim?
If you’ve been injured and it’s someone else’s fault you were injured, you may be wondering if you have a mass tort or class action claim. It’s best to contact Nadrich & Cohen to ask whether your circumstances lend themselves to a mass tort or class action claim.
Call us today at 800-718-4658 for a free consultation to see if you qualify for a mass tort or class action claim. We don’t charge anything for our services until and unless we obtain financial compensation for our clients.