Mass tort lawsuits are exceptional because they involve multiple plaintiffs seeking justice and compensation from corporations accountable for their negligence. The sheer number of victims and the financial status of defendants make the litigation complex and challenging. But there is no reason to let the rich and powerful corporations get away with acts that endanger lives.
The history of mass tort litigation goes back to the 1960s and 1970s when lawyers fought for the rights of plane crash victims. Claims were filed against airlines, airplane manufacturers, and suppliers, holding them liable for the loss of lives and property. The cases continue to grow, with the American legal system doing its bit to provide relief and justice to innocent victims.
After the pandemic slowdown, 2022 and 2023 have been busy years for the American courts, specifically when it comes to mass tort litigation. As the court holds corporations responsible, victims can regain control and get a fresh start with the compensation they deserve.
Here are the mass tort lawsuits rewriting history for the American legal system.
Camp Lejeune Water Contamination
Justice came decades later for the veterans and residents of Camp Lejeune in North Carolina fed with contaminated water. The drinking water supply here was laced with toxic chemicals from 1953 to 1987. Thousands of victims bore the brunt of the exposure, suffering from various types of cancers, infertility, birth defects, and many fatal diseases.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA) paves the way for the Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit, which enables victims to seek compensation for their medical bills, damages, and suffering. Over the years, hundreds of victims filed over water contamination, and 850 such cases were consolidated into an MDL. But the CLJA has emerged as a real game-changer for these victims.
TorHoerman Law notes that quality evidence is the mainstay of a successful mass tort claim. Victims looking to file a claim must have vital pieces such as their medical bills, diagnostic reports, proof of residence at Camp Lejeune, and military service records to get the rightful compensation.
Another mass tort case that garnered public attention this year is the Tylenol autism lawsuit. Recent research highlighted the risk of autism to an unborn baby due to the use of Tylenol during pregnancy. The study prompted a wave of Tylenol autism lawsuits by parents of children suffering from autism spectrum disorder due to Tylenol use by their mothers during pregnancy.
Victims are filing legal claims against drug retailers, citing their negligence as they failed to mention the potential risk of the drug’s use for pregnant women. The number of Tylenol lawsuits surged in 2022, and there are enough pending cases for the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to consider consolidating them into a new mass tort litigation.
Thousands of Roundup lawsuits have set the pace for mass tort litigation against the manufacturer of this controversial agricultural product. The judge even rejected Bayer’s global settlement because it would have stayed future lawsuits against the company. While Bayer claims to have settled 98,000 cases, there are still thousands of active Roundup lawsuits.
The road is long for the manufacturer as many more cases may come up in the future because users may develop lymphoma years or even decades after the exposure. On the other hand, things look up for victims as the first batch of Roundup cases in Philadelphia recently got a trial date.
Firefighting Foam (AFFF)
The AFFF firefighting foam lawsuits is another major mass tort that has emerged strong in 2022. Research links exposure to aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) with certain types of cancer, respiratory disease, and thyroid disorders. Firefighters are at high risk due to prolonged exposure to the AFFF chemicals for years.
They can seek compensation from manufacturers as they have been negligent about the product. In a recent development, the AFFF lawsuits in federal court were brought together into a new multidistrict litigation in the District of South Carolina.
Infant Formula NEC
The manufacturers of Similac and Enfamil were bombarded with several product liability lawsuits in 2021. The cow-milk-based formulas they manufacture lead to a risk of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) in premature babies.
Parents sought compensation for failing to warn about the risk, leading to severe health issues and fatalities in infants. As NEC lawsuits increased in 2022, the JPML consolidated them into a new MDL in the Northern District of Illinois.
With the growing awareness of product liability litigation, more and more victims are coming together to seek compensation from brands and corporations that have wronged them. The good thing is that the American legal system is making all efforts to support the victims and ensure they get the justice they deserve. These mass torts show the commitment to punishing the guilty and helping the ones who have suffered.