Birmingham Mass Tort Lawyer

Why Do You Need an Experienced Mass Tort Lawyer?

Mass tort examples include: multiple households suffering groundwater contamination from one factory, or all of the surviving family members of a commercial airplane crash.

Mass tort cases are collections of similar legal actions that deal with the same issue. These cases can get very large and extremely complex as they frequently deal with large entities (like corporations) and multi-district litigation across states. That is why you need seasoned mass tort lawyers handling such lawsuits on behalf of you and every other plaintiff dealing with the same injustice.

The attorneys at Pittman, Dutton, Hellums, Bradley & Mann have decades of experience taking on large entities like multi-national companies, all in the interest of individual clients and their families. If you have an injury case that may have community- or nationwide implications, contact us at (205) 322-8880. No matter how far-reaching your case becomes, our offices are equipped to help you.

Read on to learn more about mass torts, class action and multi-district cases, and how these collective efforts deliver real results to the largest possible group of individuals.

What Is the Mass Tort Definition?

A “tort” is a civil lawsuit (separate from criminal prosecutions) dealing with a wrongdoing that caused a person harm, loss, or suffering. “Mass torts” refer to legal actions that group together numerous individual lawsuits which involve the same issue.

Mass torts could involve:

  • Multiple cases from individuals against the same defendant;
  • Multiple parties with cases against the same entity (like a company); or
  • Some combination of the above.

The key feature is that these are separate cases that nevertheless involve the same complaint about a harmful action or negligence.

For example, if you were injured because of a mislabeled vitamin supplement product, you could file a legal claim against the manufacturer. Additionally, due to the nature of large-scale manufacturing, many people may have suffered similar issues due to the exact same problem with the vitamin product.

As each individual brings their own case, the court may bundle them together. This can happen if the evidence and decision will be the same for every case, while respecting that each case might require a different reward amount (see the next section for more details on individual payouts). This saves everyone time and helps to simplify what could be many complex cases into one group case. That group case is called a mass tort.

Mass tort cases join together those with similar injuries or circumstances, while still allowing your case—and your compensation rewards—to be judged based on your individual needs.

What Is Mass Tort Litigation Good For? Is it the Same as a Class Action?

Mass torts are similar to class action lawsuits, in the sense that they are both bundles of plaintiffs seeking justice based on the same problem or injury. However, there are a few key differences that mean everything regarding your potential payout.

  • Mass torts mean your settlement or reward is specific to you. If your financial needs due to mislabeled medication costs more than another person’s, then you are likely to have a higher amount of compensation.
  • Class actions mean everyone is rewarded the same amount of compensation from one large sum, divided evenly among all who were injured. If your injury costs less than someone else’s, you both still get the same amount.

Class actions are helpful for those who were injured, but do not have enough documented evidence to prove it in court. In those instances, attorneys seek out the strongest case of the group (the one most likely to get the maximum payout), and make sure everyone can share the victory.

Mass torts, on the other hand, allow you to maintain your own claims for damages.

An example situation is wrongful death awards after a mass accident like a plane crash. A widowed parent of young children who lost the family’s sole breadwinner would be awarded based on those specific financial needs, while a surviving retired spouse who is financially stable wouldn’t require the same amount of compensation.

Both of these spouses deserve compensation for the emotional injury of a lost companion, but the spouse with dependent children has additional financial hardships that need to be addressed separately.

What Are Well-Known Examples of Mass Tort Cases?

Mass tort cases have already impacted your life. Famous mass tort cases include:

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Toxic exposure: Cases involving Agent Orange (an herbicide deployed by the military in Vietnam and affecting veterans) as well as asbestos exposure in construction and manufacturing jobs throughout the United States

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Medical implants: Silicone breast implants associated with cancer and autoimmune diseases, and surgical meshes due to unsafe infection rates and internal organ injuries

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False advertising: Lawsuits brought against “Big Tobacco” cigarette companies for fraudulent advertising and failing to warn consumers about the health risks of smoking

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Environmental contamination: Groundwater poisoning by PG&E utility company in California (commonly known as the “Erin Brockovich” case) and the Gulf oil spill by the BP energy company

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Mass accidents: Airplane crashes, cruise ship accidents, and work site explosions (like the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster of West Virginia)

When one negligent act or a singluar wrongdoer injuries so many people, mass tort cases are an efficient way for individuals to influence massive safety changes. Mass torts help improve standards for industries and companies we all rely on, and holds them accountable for the damage they’ve done.

A group of diverse and committed individuals stand together.

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Contact Pittman, Dutton, Hellums, Bradley & Mann

Mass tort litigation can help increase and accelerate the settlement you need after suffering from a wrongful action or inaction. These cases can also help make enormous health and safety changes across the country, potentially saving lives. If your individual case becomes part of a mass tort lawsuit, it could mean providing a world of help for others as you pursue justice for yourself.

At Pittman, Dutton, Hellums, Bradley & Mann, we have successfully handled complex, multi-district cases involving massive, multi-national corporations—all on behalf of individual clients. There is no case too big for us, and no person too small to matter, which is why our clients receive our full support every step of the way, no matter how their case develops.

Contact Pittman, Dutton, Hellums, Bradley & Mann by calling (205) 322-8880 or filling out our online form to schedule your free consultation. With our experienced attorneys by your side, you need not be intimidated if you have an injury based on a far-reaching issue.

What Do Our Clients Say?

Ruth Weakley

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I highly recommend this law firm.  I was always kept informed of any progress in my case.  Any time I called them my concerns were met.  Attorney Mann was always very through in his responses.  I can't thank this law firm for taking excellent care of my case.

Beth Huffstutler

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The assistance we received from Mike Bradley has been a great experience. Mike communicated directly with us, answering our questions and concerns. He was always upfront and honest about our case. I would trust him completely with any legal matter. Mike's years of experience and extensive knowledge is evident in every interaction. Great attorney and firm!

Lee Huffstutler

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Outstanding firm!  Extremely pleased with the service, consistency & hard work of the firm as a whole and Michael Bradley as my representative.

Without a doubt, I would recommend anyone who is in need of a personal injury attorney to give Pittman, Dutton, Hellums, Bradley & Mann a call - good people that strive to look after your interests. Thanks for all you have done!

Larry Smith

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I have nothing but great things to say about this firm. Initially I mostly spoke to Rebecca & she made me feel very comfortable in a stressful situation. Later many of my calls were with Jon Mann & he also spoke to me with respect & thoughtfulness. Kind of strange but a close bond between lawyers & a client but not only did we discuss the matter at hand but we would discuss our personal lives & the good & bad going on in my life & their concern for my health was comforting. I would definitely recommend this firm! Keep up the great work guys.

Doris M.

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I feel very fortunate to have met this firm. During the first conference, my attorney made me feel totally at ease when sharing my situation with him. He has a way about him that makes you feel his sincerity and honesty. Thank you for taking my burden and for the wonderful job that you did to complete my case successfully. I am VERY PLEASED!

Cathye H.

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My case was one that was a part of a nationwide claim. I researched and prayed for the appropriate attorney and I found that in Mike Bradley. While my case lasted, Mike and his assistant Karen stayed current and knowledgeable on the status and updates. I never once called or emailed that one of them didn't respond to me immediately. Mike would call to answer an email because he felt it would be more personal and efficient than typing. I highly recommend this firm.

Tyna B.

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I would like to express my gratitude to Mr. Jon Mann of Pittman, Dutton, Hellums, Bradley & Mann. I am so grateful for your knowledge, passion, dedication, and professionalism you have exhibited through this entire ordeal. Mr. Jon Mann took in all the relevant information, analyzed it and created a plan to settle my case. Again, I value the help you've given me. Thank you!!

Emily W.

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I was very pleased with the work that Pittman, Dutton, Hellums, Bradley & Mann did for us. I had been injured in a car accident and was in quite a bit of pain for sometime. They always treated me like a person and not a case—never failed to return a call and kept us apprised of what was going on. I had a time when I had to be totally focused on recovery, they were able to take care of the situation and I didn’t have to worry about it. I owe this firm a lot of thanks.

Luxi Choi

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Pittman, Dutton, Hellums, Bradley & Mann prides themselves on hard work and proven results.They earnestly work to provide the best outcomes for their clients. It's truly been an honor to work with them.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are “bellwether cases” for mass torts?

Bellwether cases are essentially test cases in mass tort litigation.

The term “bellwether” originally referred to a particular ram among a flock of sheep known as a “wether.” One wether would be chosen to wear a bell so the shepherd would know by sound where the flock had roamed. The term is commonly used to describe “one that takes the lead” in political trends and forecasting.

In mass tort cases, there is often a smaller group of cases that are selected for trial first. The decisions made in those initial verdicts help indicate the appropriate range of damages for every case that could go to trial. However, in the interest of saving time and resources for all involved, not all cases have to be tried, and can instead be settled for the predicted amount of compensation based on bellwether trial results.

Are mass torts and class actions considered “multi-district litigation” cases?

Both mass torts and class actions can involve multi-district litigation (MDL), which is a special civil procedure that transfers cases from across the country into one specific court’s jurisdiction.

For mass tort cases, MDL may not always apply, because each person maintains their own lawsuit, and can choose to go to trial independently in their own court district. It still remains true that in a class action suit, all parties are joined together in the same case behind the best representative from the group, and are rewarded the same amount of damages from a shared compensation pool.

What are the most common types of mass tort claims?

Mass tort cases frequently fall into three categories:

  • Prescription drugs and pharmaceuticals
  • Toxic contamination such as hazardous pollution (aka “toxic torts”)
  • Product liability, often concerning medical devices

Product liability cases also have different subcategory types. These may depend on whether they involve issues of defective design, defective manufacturing, or failure to properly label the item with important warnings or instructions.

How do I file a mass tort case?

By filing a personal injury case for an issue that affects many others, you may ultimately end up with a mass tort case. But since mass tort cases only form after multiple individuals bring lawsuits based on the same injury or circumstance, you need not plan for them—your case is about your injury first and foremost. If your case eventually joins a mass tort, the sheer number of cases can help expose companies’ misconduct and accomplish:

  • Improvement of company/manufacturer safety standards/policies
  • Removal of dangerous products from the consumer market
  • Banning toxic substances
  • Stopping harmful behavior (such as an injunction to stop polluting)
  • Awareness and advocacy for related dangers

Contact Pittman, Dutton, Hellums, Bradley & Mann at (205) 322-8880 for comprehensive legal support no matter where your case leads.

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