Mass Torts, Insurance & Consumer Litigation
QRF will organize quickly to bring you immediate legal help through the Court system by taking action to defend cases on every level—from formulating and implementing strategy in multijurisdictional litigation to conducting hearings and trials and pursuing appeals. Our Mass Torts, Insurance and Consumer Litigation group’s vast experience in complex tort and consumer fraud litigation, enable us to work collaboratively to provide seamless, innovative strategies to protect your rights. We care about getting our client the best result possible.
QRF defends high-stakes litigation ranging from toxic torts to product liability and product recalls to multi-jurisdictional consumer class actions. For companies facing enterprise-threatening litigation in hostile venues, settlement may not be an option. In those cases, our firm offers a formidable bench of seasoned trial lawyers with a record of success in bench and jury trials in state and federal courts across the United States (US). The team’s success is predicated on the courtroom skills of its trial lawyers and their substantive expertise in handling complex scientific and technical matters. When complex cases need to be settled, our lawyers craft outside-the-box solutions and draw on the firm’s top-tier QRF to bring them to closure.
What are Mass Torts?
A Mass Tort is a case where many people are wrongfully harmed in a similar way, by a similar product. Often by a drug, medical device or defective product, a recent example is the Takata airbag recall, which affects millions of cars.
A “tort” is a civil – rather than criminal – wrong committed by one person that results in injury to another. (In the legal context, a “person” can be a business or corporation.) Our civil justice system is founded upon principles of personal responsibility. As a result, a person who commits a tort is responsible for the harm caused and is liable for the physical and financial damages incurred by the victim.
As previously mentioned, mass tort cases allow many people harmed by the same person (or, in most instances, the same corporation) to benefit from shared research, efficiency and economy of scale, but still have their cases considered individually. The cases are pursued as individual lawsuits, often consolidated in the beginning by the Court. Mass tort cases are frequently confused with class actions, yet mass torts are far different than class actions. Class actions involve the claims of multiple parties, all brought in the same suit.
Some mass torts arise out of widespread disasters, such as the Exxon and BP oil spills, the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the MGM Las Vegas hotel fire and various airlines crashes. Others are triggered by government action, such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recall of automobiles with design defects. Still, others come about as a result of violations by big businesses in antitrust claims, deceptive and fraudulent business practices and security fraud; or from scientific studies that discover previously undisclosed dangers of consumer products, such as pharmaceuticals and medical devices.
Unique Characteristics of Mass Tort Cases:
By consolidating mass tort cases for preliminary pre-trial matters, and then trying the cases individually, our court system seeks to balance the interests of injured parties who have a right to have their claims individually addressed against the need for cost-efficient and timely proceedings. In doing so, lawyers and judges handling mass tort cases borrow some concepts from class action cases, while retaining each injured party’s individual case.
Distinctions between class action claims and mass tort actions:
In order to obtain class certification, it is important to show that all of the class members have been harmed in the same fashion. This is why class action lawsuits generally are inappropriate for plaintiffs who have suffered personal injuries. Class actions are often used to recover financial losses under consumer fraud laws.
In mass tort litigation, individual cases are consolidated only for purposes of:
Each plaintiff’s case proceeds forward individually, and if the case is tried, it is tried individually. Any damages awarded in trial go to the individual, not to a class for later division.
Scope of Services: