Class Action Lawsuit v. Mass Tort Action


The terms “class action” and “mass tort” may be thrown around in the same context, but they are in fact two different forms of litigation. A class action lawsuit is one lawsuit filed on behalf of many different people, or plaintiffs, who all have the same complaint. A mass tort, on the other hand, involves a number of people who may have varying complaints or injuries from the same product. Unlike a class action, a mass tort is made up of many individual lawsuits. Each one receives compensation based on the individual injuries, whereas a class action lawsuit divides one award equally amongst the Plaintiffs.  

Parker Waichman LLP is one such law firm that often pursues mass tort actions on behalf of many victims who have suffered various injuries due to a defective drug or medical device. Take for instance, the DePuy ASR hip implant; this metal-on-metal hip device spurred numerous lawsuits after it became strongly associated with high failure rates and complications following its recall in 2010.

On July 16th, Parker Waichman filed several lawsuits against DePuy Orthopaedics and Johnson & Johnson alleging that the DePuy ASR caused personal injuries. However, the specific complaints varied from plaintiff to plaintiff- one lawsuit, for instance, was filed on behalf of a woman who suffered groin pain and instability while another cited elevated ion levels and revision surgery. As often happens in mass tort cases, these lawsuits were consolidated into a multidistrict litigation where proceedings are centralizes before one Judge and one court. In this case, the suits were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Western Division as part of the In Re: DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. ASR Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation. By filing mass tort lawsuits into a multidistrict litigation, the lawsuits are often processed more efficiently.