What Are Mass Torts?

A “tort” is a civil wrong committed by a person, business, or other legal entity (such as a corporation) that results in injury to another person (victim).  The person who commits the tort is legally responsible or liable for the harm suffered by the victim.  When the victim sues they become the plaintiff and the party that gets sued is called the defendant. The plaintiff usually sues the defendant to recover monetary compensation for their injuries.  Therefore, a mass tort is a civil wrong that results in injury to many victims, and therefore involves numerous plaintiffs suing one defendant (or several defendants) who acted negligently.  The two most common mass torts are pharmaceutical claims and consumer product claims.  Pharmaceutical mass torts involve both doctor prescribed and over-the-counter drugs that even though they were approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), they are still actually very dangerous and even possibly deadly.  Consumer product mass torts involve dangerous products such as defective automobile airbags or tires.  While many mass tort lawsuits eventually end up in federal court, they can also be pursued in state courts as well.

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