Below are answers to questions many consumers have regarding filing a lawsuit for a dangerous product, device or drug. While your case may have commonalties with other cases, each case also tends to have unique circumstances that must be carefully considered. This page explains the legal processes that are used to handle large cases with multiple plaintiffs, such as dangerous drug lawsuits, product liability lawsuits, and medical device lawsuits.
Multi-District Litigation is a method used to resolve complex cases in a timely manner. When multiple plaintiffs have common complaints in diverse locations, as in product liability cases, their cases can be handled most efficiently together. The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation defines MDLs as "civil actions involving one or more common questions of fact [that] are pending in different districts." This is a federal practice whereby a single court attempts to resolve the case without having to send each lawsuit back to its original court for separate trials.
Class action lawsuits address less serious charges, whereas MDL is used to resolve more serious cases such as product liability cases, air traffic disasters and other circumstances that have resulted in significant injuries or death for a large number of people. MDLs allow one court to settle the common questions across multiple cases, leaving the individual circumstances to be addressed separately if necessary.
MDLs are used to resolve the common questions or complaints across the entire group. Individual aspects of your case can be addressed on an individual basis. Compensation is assigned on the basis of the individual details of each case, such as the extent of injury or damage experience by the plaintiff.
Cases that are filed in state courts may first be moved to federal court before joining the MDL. If a case is first filed into United States District Court, the Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation will move it to the MDL. When a case joins an MDL, it is assigned a MDL case number.
In most cases, MDLs settle prior to trial. When a case settles, there will be a compensatory payout but there is not necessarily an admission of guilt by the defendant.
It is advised that you select a lawyer who has experience in multi-district litigation. This ensures that you will be expertly represented, kept informed of the case's progress, and that your individual circumstances will not be overlooked.
Most law firms that represent plaintiffs in multi-district litigation only charge for their services if and when the case settles in their clients' favor. You should not be charged for legal services until that occurs. Your legal fees will represent a percentage of your total compensation.
In the case of products liability litigation such as cases pertaining to defective or dangerous medical devices or pharmaceutical drugs, it is likely that many other people have had a similar experience to yours. By filing a lawsuit, you join forces with other Americans who have been damaged by the same product. Together, you can hold a large corporation accountable for the damage they have caused. The threat of large lawsuits exerts pressure on companies to be more aware of product safety, and it may mean a company will remove a harmful product from the market. In the end, besides providing compensation for damages plaintiffs have experienced, litigation is one of the consumer's best tools to exert pressure upon a large commercial entity. Your lawsuit may save others from a similar fate, and can result in important new regulations.
It is the responsibility of your attorney to keep you informed once your case has become a part of a multi-district litigation. For this reason, it is vital that you choose a trustworthy attorney who has experience with MDL. This website, www.247lawsuitnews.com, is a valuable source for MDL lawsuit news.