How Multi-District Litigation Works in Mass Tort Cases

Legal terms can be confusing to the average person. For instance, many plaintiffs who contact the mass tort lawyers at Rueb Stoller Daniel do not understand why their case will join a multi-district litigation. Some of them confuse the term with class action and insist on having their day in court.

Knowing the mechanisms that lead to settlements in such cases is very important. This is why we discuss the role of multi-district litigation in mass tort cases.

Multi-District Litigation: What It Is and How It Works

In some instances, people from different parts of the US file legal actions against the same defendant. If there is no perfect uniformity among these cases, the plaintiffs do not qualify for a class action, where all the cases merge into a single trial.

However, trying each case separately would place a huge burden on the justice system. For example, the 3M ear plug mass tort had more than 250,000 plaintiffs.

Thus, the Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation steps in and brings all the cases together to a single federal court. Each plaintiff will have their separate legal action, but all trials will be in the same court and before the same judge.

Are Mass Tort Cases and Multi-District Litigation the Same Thing?

So, let us clear up the confusion. Mass tort cases involve many people harmed in the same way, for instance by a defective product. An MDL or multi-district litigation can involve mass tort lawsuits as well as other types of cases, such as consumer class action claims.

The basic conditions for qualifying for a multi-district litigation are:

  • The plaintiff and the defendant are from different US states
  • The damages claimed by the plaintiff exceed $75,000
  • The case implicates federal law.

How the Multi-District Litigation Impacts Individual Cases

At this point, mass tort lawyers need to explain to clients how MDLs differ from personal injury lawsuits. There are both pros and cons in this system and we will take an honest look at both of them.

similar cases from different jurisdictions are heard in MDL

Pros of Multi-District Litigation in Mass Tort Cases

Let us start with the benefits of being part of an MDL. Here is how this system helps you:

  • All the plaintiffs’ lawyers work like a team, gathering evidence and preparing legal arguments, so that the overall legal costs of the case are reduced.
  • Unless your case is chosen for the bellwether trial, you may not have to face being deposed in court.
  • There are far more chances to settle an MDL out of court than a personal injury lawsuit.

Cons of Multi-District Litigation 

An MDL has some drawbacks for plaintiffs because the defendants have specific advantages.

  • The litigation often takes place in their jurisdiction.
  • As there will be a lot of publicity, convincing more plaintiffs to join the MDL, defendants often put up a vigorous defense in the first wave of cases.
  • There may be complicated questions concerning which state laws apply to cases, especially when it comes to the statute of limitations.

Experienced Mass Tort Lawyers Will Fight for Your Rights

Getting compensation from large corporations sued by many others is difficult. These big companies protect their profits and brand image aggressively, by hiring some of the most prominent law firms in the US.

However, our mass tort lawyers at Rueb Stoller Daniel have what it takes to fight for you in cases like these. We know how to cooperate with other attorneys involved in multi-district litigation while continuing to advocate for your right to compensation.

Find out if your case is likely to be added to an MDL mass tort. Contact Rueb Stoller Daniel today at 1-866-CALL-RSD to schedule a free case review!