Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers Prosecute Mass Torts
Capable legal representation for victims taking on powerful defendants
When the harm from a product or an injury event is widespread, it’s easy to overlook the suffering of each individual victim. But before you allow yourself to be treated as a statistic, you should seek the counsel of a knowledgeable lawyer who cares about each and every client. At Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban, our attorneys have more than 200 years of combined legal experience, and we are determined to give each client the personal attention they deserve. We understand that a mass tort may have affected you in a singular way, impacting your life and your family. We are determined to see that you are compensated fully for your personal losses.
What is a mass tort case?
“Tort” is a legal term for a wrongful injury, where a victim is legally justified in seeking compensation from a defendant who caused the injury, usually through a careless act or omission. But when the defendant’s same act or omission causes harm to a wide number of victims, the case becomes a mass tort. Examples of mass torts include:
- Medical device injuries — When a manufacturer places a medical device on the market that harms the patients who use it, the result is a mass tort.
- Prescription drug injuries — There are many examples of dangerous drugs which, after being distributed widely, are shown to cause harm to patients.
- Products liability injuries — While medical devices and dangerous drugs are specific categories of defective products that harm consumers, there are numerous other products, from tainted food to talcum powder, that can cause injuries on a wide scale.
- Toxic contamination — When a company releases caustic industrial chemicals into the air, soil, or groundwater, widespread harm can result.
Generally, a defendant that has committed a mass tort is a large corporation. To effectively assert your rights, you need skilled representation from a law firm with the resources to take on a powerful defendant.
What is the difference between a class action and a mass tort case?
First, let’s understand what a tort is: a wrongful injury one person inflicts on another, for which the first person must compensate the second. By “mass tort,” we mean one harmful act or omission has caused injury to numerous victims. This gives rise to a legal situation where we have:
- A single defendant
- Numerous victims
- A single cause of the harm
Now the question becomes, what is the best way to ensure the victims can have their day in court and seek redress for their injuries? Letting each defendant sue individually can be impractical for a number of reasons:
- The courts can only accommodate so many cases at a time, so the long line of plaintiffs might cause litigation to drag on forever.
- When plaintiffs sue a powerful corporation individually, the process heavily favors the defendant.
- Early plaintiffs get to sue while the defendant still has assets; later plaintiffs may wind up suing a bankrupt company.
This is where the idea of a class action comes in. When injured parties have suffered similar injuries, the court will certify a class, consolidating individual cases into a single action. In this way tens, hundreds, even thousands of plaintiffs can sue at once and share in the damage award. This is good for the plaintiffs, because it gives them strength in numbers against a powerful defendant.
On the other hand, if the victims of a mass tort have been affected differently, a single case might not address the unique aspects of their losses. Such a case cannot be certified as a class action, so each plaintiff must present a separate claim. The advantage here is that each plaintiff gets personalized attention for his or her claim.
Mesothelioma: Unique mass tort continues to cause harm
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you probably know something of the legal background. In short, companies who used asbestos in products ranging from automobile brakes to floor tiles knew the chemical was extremely toxic, but covered up evidence of the harm. When industrial workers and consumers started suffering from mesothelioma, the deadly cancer caused by asbestos, they sued the companies that made the product. Many companies went out of business because of the crushing liability, but the bankruptcy court forced them to establish trust funds for future victims. Mesothelioma takes decades to develop, so even though the industry has adopted better safety standards for dealing with asbestos, victims continue to come forward.
Our firm is actively engaged in mesothelioma litigation. This is a unique mass tort, because the harmful product was produced by so many individual defendants. To prevail in your claim, you must identify the specific source of your asbestos exposure. We can help you locate the proper defendant and hold that company accountable.
Current mass tort cases our lawyers are pursuing
Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban is currently assisting victims of mass torts arising from these dangerous drugs and medical devices:
- Abilify — This antipsychotic drug is used to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression. Abilify’s side effects are many and range from compulsive gambling to suicide.
- ATTUNE knee replacement failures — These artificial joints, designed to last for 15 to 20 years, have been plagued by early failures. The ATTUNE knee system loses stability, causing pain to patients who need revision surgery to correct the problem.
- Bair Hugger warming blankets and post-operative infections — These forced-air warming blankets, designed to prevent hypothermia during and after surgery have been linked to post-operative infections. Still, the Bair Hugger system remains the most widely used of its kind.
- GM ignition switches — Defective ignition switches on GM vehicles caused engines to lose power while the vehicle was in motion, causing crashes in which the air bags did not deploy. If you or a loved one was hurt in a front-impact crash due to a faulty GM ignition switch, we can help you pursue full compensation.
- IVC filter defects — These small devices are placed in the inferior vena cava to prevent blood clots when medical interventions are not appropriate, but the filters have been known to break and/or migrate from the point of insertion in the vein, with painful and even deadly consequences. Defective IVC filters have caused even greater harm than they were designed to prevent.
- Mirena IUD linked to pseudotumor – This intrauterine birth control device uses a synthetic form of progestin. The Mirena IUD has been linked to elevated cerebrospinal fluid in the skull, resulting in idiopathic intracranial hypertension or pseudotumor cerebri, which mimics the effects of a brain tumor.
- Opioids and addiction — The pharmaceutical industry has caused an epidemic of opioid abuse through a reckless marketing program that has led to widespread addiction. Our firm is fighting to hold drug manufacturers accountable.
- Roundup weed killer and cancer — The world’s most popular herbicide, Monsanto’s Roundup is a probable cause of numerous cancers in humans.
- Takata air bags — Takata is a major manufacturer of air bags serving a large number of automobile manufacturers. Unfortunately, manufacturing and quality control issues led to a widespread problem of Takata air bags exploding on deployment, severely injuring or killing front-seat occupants.
- Taxotere — A chemotherapy drug prescribed in the treatment of breast, lung, prostate, stomach, head and neck cancer, Taxotere has been shown to cause a number of negative side effects, including permanent hair loss.
- Viagra and melanoma — The popular erectile dysfunction drug Viagra (along with Cialis) is suspected of causing an aggressive form of skin cancer in men.
Trust our mass tort lawyers to give your case the individual attention it deserves
If you have used any of these products and have suffered any of these side effects, our mass tort attorneys are prepared to fight for the full compensation you deserve for your losses. Call us today at (877) 428-1122 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. For your convenience, we have offices throughout North Carolina, South Carolina & Virginia.