Courts Adapting to Mass Torts

By West, Terry | THE JOURNAL RECORD, February 12, 1998 | Go to article overview

Courts Adapting to Mass Torts


West, Terry, THE JOURNAL RECORD


It seems that about once each year, a product with widespread national use suddenly appears to be more harmful than helpful. That, of course, usually breeds a plethora of lawsuits across the country.

The latest mass tort is the diet drug regimen known as Fen/phen, a combination of drugs that in some instances apparently can produce very serious heart and lung problems. This situation has spawned thousands of suits across the country. It will follow, I believe, a predictable pattern based on the history of such events.

In the last decade we have had asbestos, breast implants, Norplant, pedicle screws, J-wires, and the grand daddy of all mass torts -- tobacco -- to name a few. Due to the multiplicity of these cases, which frequently number in the hundreds of thousands, the federal courts have developed a way to minimize the impact of these cases on the court system. The primary vehicle is multi-district litigation (MDL). This procedure requires that one federal judge be appointed to oversee all federal cases in the country. Cases filed in Oklahoma and all other federal courts are literally transferred, file folder and all contents, to the supervising judge. The judge then appoints a group of lawyers to the plaintiffs and defendants steering committees. These committees usually consist of the leading plaintiff's lawyers who were first active in the cases and the defense lawyers representing the manufacturers. These lawyers are responsible for all discovery. They depose defendant officers, employees, and experts, and obtain all defense studies and documents. At the conclusion of all discovery, the evidence is made available to all plaintiffs' lawyers for use in their individual cases when they are returned to the original courts. This evidence is usually admitted by the MDL judge, and may be introduced in individual cases merely by identification as MDL discovery items. Another vehicle for mass cases is the class action, which may require an article of its own. Recent federal court decisions have made it much more difficult to obtain national class certification. More often federal judges are finding that commonality of all necessary issues are rarely present. Therefore, the most prevalent current use of class action suits is for settlement purposes. Often a primary goal of the MDL steering committee is to effect a national settlement. If terms can be agreed on, a settlement class can be certified. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Courts Adapting to Mass Torts
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.