Hello, I’m Roger Ghai, and I’m an attorney in the Atlanta, Georgia area. I handle pharmaceutical cases throughout the United States, as well as defect product cases throughout the United States. I want to talk today a little bit about what a mass tort is because sometimes clients call me and they say, “Well, what does that exactly mean?”
A mass tort is just where a large number of people have been injured by a product or device. And so many times the cases are actually consolidated before one or two or three judges in the United States. Sometimes, individual cases are filed in particular States, but for the most part, I should say, when we’re talking about mass torts, we’re really talking about one product that has injured several thousands of people. And so, there are some common legal issues that have to be decided.
So normally, let’s take, for example, Fen-Phen. Fen-Phen was what we call a mass tort. It was a diet drug several years ago, and it caused severe injuries to the people that took that drug. So, instead of having, let’s say 20,000 trials throughout the United States on whether the Fen-Phen actually caused the harmful effect of the consumer, basically the cases were consolidated into a few jurisdictions. And so, the judge would hold what we call a science day hearing to determine, that’s usually what will happen, preliminarily, a critical step in that litigation. And the science day is just the process where the plaintiff’s experts testify as to whether the drug caused the harm that is alleged. And the defense will, of course, have their experts saying, “No, it didn’t cause the harm.” And then the judge will make a ruling, whether the drug did cause the harm, or the product was defectively put together and designed. And then after that, then there will be trials before juries. And that’s usually how that litigation continues.
So, it’s different from a class action because in a class action, every client receives for the most part, the identical amount of money. In a mass tort, or a multi-district litigation, really what happens is that there are tiers of injuries that people suffer. For example, somebody might have suffered from a particular drug, or let’s just use drugs as an example, they might have suffered a heart attack or they might’ve suffered cancer or, and there can be different types of cancer. And so, the compensation, if liability, that is, if fault can be proven, would be determined on a number of factors. It would be determined, number one, whether the client was predisposed to the injury, itself. Number two, how long maybe the client took the product. Number three would be, can we prove the client used the product? And just a multitude of other factors.
So, if you have any questions about these types of cases and you’ve taken a harmful prescribed drug, and you think it’s caused you significant injuries, feel free to call my office at 770-792-1000.