How does a mass tort work?
The general process for mass torts is:
- Study the claims: Attorneys interview each plaintiff, review medical records, and collect evidence.
- Build the case structure: Attorneys look for injury consistencies, flagging injury similarities across the spectrum of cases.
- File a multidistrict litigation (MDL) claim: The cases move as a group to a federal court for discovery and pretrial hearings.
- Initiate bellwether trials: The MDL judge selects several cases for a “test” trial. The outcome helps attorneys refine their strategies and consider settlement options.
- Negotiate settlements: If this step ends in a stalemate, the case goes back to the originating court for trial.