What are “class action” and “mass tort” lawsuits?

There are several similarities between class action and mass tort lawsuits. Both concern a large group of plaintiffs who have allegedly been harmed by the same common defendants. Instead of trying each case separately, the legal action is consolidated into one lawsuit. This protects the company from the enormous expense of defending thousands of separate lawsuits. The difference between the two is that in a class action lawsuit, one individual plaintiff acts as a “class representative” for the rest of the plaintiffs—the class—involved in the lawsuit.For example, if the phone company overcharges all of its customers, each customer has been harmed in exactly the same way and a single plaintiff may represent all of the plaintiffs in the class action. On the other hand, in a mass tort, each plaintiff is treated as an individual, even though they belong to the same class and are suing the same defendant.Most large-scale defective medical device lawsuits are mass torts because the negative effects of the defective device or implant vary between individuals, depending upon their existing health, lifestyle and other factors. For example, Demas Law Group, P.C., represented several hundred women who had been harmed by defective breast implants. Each had to be examined by a board-certified physician. That information was then submitted to the court considering the mass tort action. The court then granted monetary awards to our clients based on the extent of their injuries.

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