Mass tort and class action lawsuits are two types of legal proceedings that are often used to resolve disputes involving multiple parties. While they share some similarities, they also have some key differences that are important to understand.
A mass tort lawsuit is a type of legal proceeding in which a large number of individuals file individual lawsuits against one or more defendants, alleging that they have been harmed by the defendant’s actions. The cases are typically consolidated into a single lawsuit and tried together. This allows the parties to share the costs of litigation and makes it more efficient for the court to hear the cases.
One of the key differences between mass torts and class action lawsuits is the way that the cases are handled. In a mass tort, each plaintiff has their own individual case, which is tried separately. This means that each plaintiff must prove their own injuries and damages, and the court will award damages on an individual basis. This can be more time-consuming and expensive than a class action lawsuit, but it can also result in higher awards for the plaintiffs, as each case is decided on its own merits.
On the other hand, a class action lawsuit is a type of legal proceeding in which a group of individuals file a single lawsuit against one or more defendants, alleging that they have all been harmed by the defendant’s actions. The individuals in the class are represented by a small number of class representatives, and any damages awarded are distributed among the class members.
The main advantage of a class action lawsuit is that it is often more efficient than trying to litigate a large number of individual cases. This is because the class representatives can speak on behalf of the entire class, which can save time and resources. In addition, class action lawsuits can also provide a more effective means of resolving disputes involving a large number of plaintiffs, as the damages awarded can be distributed among the class members.
Another difference between mass torts and class action lawsuits is the way that the parties are bound by the outcome of the case. In a mass tort, only the plaintiffs who have filed lawsuits are bound by the outcome of the case. This means that other individuals who have been harmed by the defendant’s actions but have not filed lawsuits are not bound by the outcome of the case. On the other hand, in a class action lawsuit, all members of the class are bound by the outcome of the case, regardless of whether they have joined the lawsuit or not. This can be beneficial for the defendants, as it means that they only have to defend against one lawsuit instead of many.
Another important thing to consider is that class action lawsuits generally require “commonality” among the group of plaintiffs and typical “commonality” requirements are that the class members all suffered the same type of harm from the same defendants’ actions. This is not necessary for a mass tort, where each plaintiff’s case is separate and can vary in terms of how the harm occurred or who caused it.
In terms of legal requirements, a class action lawsuit requires the court to certify the class. This means that the court must determine that the case meets certain requirements, such as that the class members have common claims, that the class representatives can fairly and adequately represent the class, and that the class action is the superior method for resolving the dispute. In contrast, mass tort lawsuits do not require court certification, they are just consolidated and handled as one case.
In summary, mass torts and class action lawsuits are two types of legal proceedings that are used to resolve disputes involving multiple parties. While they share some similarities, they also have some key differences. Mass torts are a consolidation of individual lawsuits, with each plaintiff proving their own case, while class actions are a single lawsuit with a group of plaintiffs represented in the legal action.
At Kellum Law Firm our class action attorneys are handling a range of cases including Camp Lejeune toxic water contamination lawsuits. If you need more information on the best approach to take in filing or joining a Class Action lawsuit, please contact us to set up a free case review.