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Four Things to Know About Multi-District Litigation & Defective Drug Mass Torts



If you've been injured by a defective drug, it's likely that there are hundreds or thousands of other people who have suffered similar injuries. And if the pharmaceutical company has been hit with countless lawsuits across the country, they may be consolidated in a single location through a process known as multi-district litigation.

Here are four important things to know about multi-district litigation (MDL) and defective drug cases:

  1. MDL may save money for the defendant—but can increase costs for plaintiffs. Consolidating all cases in a single court offers cost-savings for the drug manufacturer (the defendant in a mass tort lawsuit). That's because it doesn't have to fly lawyers all over the country to defend itself. Instead, it can have a team of lawyers in a single location, which is more cost-effective. At the same time, it can make it more expensive for those who have been injured by a defective drug (the plaintiffs). If you live in California, for example, and the cases have been consolidated into a court in New York, that boosts your attorney's travel expenses. Although you're not paying those expenses while the case is in progress, you will have to reimburse the lawyer for legal fees if your case is successful. If an MDL venue has already been established, consider hiring a defective drugs attorney who's located in the same city or state as the court.
  2. MDL may save you money in the long run. Travel expenses aside, multi-district litigation allows attorneys to pool their financial resources when trying defective drug cases. Suppose, for example, there are certain resources—such as legal experts—that would help your case but are prohibitively expensive given how much you're likely to recover if your case is successful. With MDL, many lawyers can pool their money and share the expense of hiring such resources. This may strengthen your case and benefit you in the long run.
  3. MDL offers some advantages for plaintiffs. Two similar or identical cases heard in two courts can have very different outcomes. By hearing all MDL cases in a single court, both the plaintiffs and the defendant can expect more consistent results. That works for your advantage as a plaintiff because your attorney can talk to lawyers representing other victims, coordinate strategy and improve how your case is presented based on the outcomes of earlier cases.
  4. You may still be able to get your case heard in a local court. Multi-district litigation typically consolidates lawsuits filed in federal courts across the country. If you're able to file your defective drug lawsuit in a state court, it won't be part of the MDL. Your mass tort attorney can explain the pros and cons of filing a lawsuit in state versus federal court.

Visit LawyerLocator for more information about mass torts or to hire a pharmaceutical litigation attorney.