Complications in Mass Tort Litigation

  • March 6, 2024

Mass tort litigation is a complex area of law that involves numerous plaintiffs seeking justice for injuries caused by a single defendant or group of defendants. Despite their efficacy in handling multiple similar claims effectively, these instances come with their fair share of complications. Here are six notable difficulties often involved in mass tort litigation.

1. Coordination among Multiple Plaintiffs

A significant challenge in mass tort litigation is coordinating various plaintiffs spread across different jurisdictions. Ensuring effective communication and keeping everyone updated about the progress of the case is a daunting task that can make mass tort litigation more complex.

2. Proving Causation

Another complication arises when proving causation — it can be quite challenging to definitively prove that the defendant’s actions directly led to each plaintiff’s alleged injury, especially when individual health backgrounds and lifestyle choices are factored in.

3. Diverse Damages

In mass tort litigation, the injuries suffered by plaintiffs may vary widely, from minor harms to severe damages. Gauging the extent of harm incurred by each plaintiff is a difficult task that can significantly complicate the litigation process.

4. Lengthy Litigation Process

Mass tort cases can take several years to reach a conclusion, primarily due to their size and complexity. The process of gathering evidence, hearing testimonies, and cross-examining witnesses for multiple plaintiffs can cause significant delays in the litigation process.

5. Legal Costs

Due to the extensive research, coordination, and the time it takes to litigate mass tort cases, these lawsuits prove to be extremely costly. Furthermore, the cost of hiring expert witnesses and covering administrative expenses can add to the financial burden faced by plaintiffs.

6. Opting for Settlement

Often, defendants choose to settle mass tort cases outside of court, to avoid tarnishing their public image or because it makes financial sense to do so, given the high costs associated with lengthy litigation. However, this can be complicated as the settlement amount needs to fairly compensate all plaintiffs, each of whom may have suffered varying degrees of harm.

Mass tort litigation holds a critical place in getting justice for a large number of plaintiffs who have been wronged by the same defendant. While dealing with these complications can be challenging, understanding them is the first step to forming effective strategies for tackling mass tort litigations.


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