Posted On September 5, 2016 In Personal Injury
Product liability has gained a lot of attention in the press recently due to defective auto parts. Most of us have heard about General Motors’ faulty ignition switch or Takata’s defective airbag inflators. People have filed lawsuits against GM and Takata after suffering injuries or losing loved ones. In cases involving defective products, consumers sometimes file class action lawsuits.
Class action cases involve many people being represented in a lawsuit against the same defendant. This gives consumers an advantage because they are pooling their claims together against a large entity with vast resources. If the verdict or settlement is in favor of the plaintiffs who filed the case, each member of the class can receive a reward.
The criteria set by Civil Procedure Rule 42 must be met before class action lawsuits can be filed in Texas. Rule 42 requires the four following criteria:
There are also other options for plaintiffs who are seeking damages against negligent parties. In fact, multidistrict litigation (MDL cases) and class action lawsuits are frequently confused. MDL may be more beneficial than class actions depending on the circumstances.
In a class action lawsuit, there is one courtroom, one judge and one trial from the very start. MDL works quite differently. In MDL, multiple plaintiffs file their cases in their home states, and then the cases are later grouped together under a single court. After the cases are sent to the same court, the judge will make preliminary findings such as discovery orders and liability before sending the cases back to their respective home states. After the cases get sent back to their home states, the defendant can negotiate settlements or call for trials.
For example, many cases against drug companies are not class action, but MDL. This is because multiple people file separate cases against the same company. We can use the cancer-fighting drug Taxotere as an example. Lawsuits have been filed all over the country, and now plaintiffs’ lawyers are urging for the 33 separate cases to be moved to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
On the other hand, Toyota was sued in a class action lawsuit in 2010 over faulty brakes. According to the lawsuit, Toyota had failed to warn consumers about a defect with the antilock braking systems for Prius and Lexus vehicles. Anyone who had suffered economic losses (decreased vehicle value or accident damages) caused by the brakes were invited to receive part of the settlement.
There may be many options to hold negligent businesses accountable for causing injuries or death. If you have been injured by a defective product or business, it would be wise to call an attorney to discuss possible legal options.
The Texas personal injury attorneys at Mike Love & Associates, LLC can help people and families who have been harmed by negligent businesses.