Class Action Vs Mass Tort Differences

When people hear about class action lawsuits, they often also hear about mass tort cases. There are certain similarities between the two of them. They both involve large groups of individuals who believe they have been harmed. They both involve a lawsuit consolidated into a single action. The alleged harm will have been caused by a common defendant. In a mass tort action, the individual lawsuits filed against a defendant are individually maintained. With a class action lawsuit, all the lawsuits are combined into a single lawsuit.

Mass Tort

These cases usually involve people being injured by a single product. In this situation, the plaintiffs may not be permitted to proceed with a class action lawsuit. They may be required to make a mass tort claim. All the individual claims against a company’s product or the product’s defect are combined by the court for the pre-trial proceedings. This is done to save time and money. One of the main action during these proceeding is discovery. This is a process that involves lawyers from the plaintiffs and defendants exchanging essential information. The process of discovery will often produce tens of thousands of documents as well as electronic records. There will be many witnesses questioned under oath. These are known as depositions. Cases are combined during the pre-trial proceedings and then separated when a final decision is rendered.

Class Action

This involves a large number of plaintiffs. They will be known as the class and have chosen to be represented by a single representative. In this situation, all members of the class are treated as a single plaintiff. The question of law must be common for every member of the lawsuit. An essential element to this is the class representative. It is common for this to be a team of lawyers. They will create and file the complaint with the proper court for all the members of the class. Once the complaint is filed and served to a defendant, the court is required to certify the class. A court will either begin the process of certification or require the plaintiff to file a motion for the class to be certified.


If a case is organized into a class action lawsuit, the entire group has one representative. When damages are awarded, everyone in the class receives the same amount. Should a jury award a large sum of money in a class action lawsuit, the award may be divided up equally among millions of people. This could result in plaintiffs of a class action suit only receiving a few dollars. When a case is organized as a mass tort, all the parties involved can maintain their separate attorneys and their individual lawsuits. The plaintiff’s attorneys can share information with one another. The settlement a plaintiff receives is determined by the severity of injuries they experienced. Some will get more of an award than others.

Mass torts are a broad category of law that describe cases involving multiple plaintiffs. The mass torts allow many different parties to come together to show the defendant caused damage common to all of the plaintiffs, without the need for each case to move through the courts on its own,” says attorney Jamine Cogburn.

Class Action Lawsuit Benefits

These types of lawsuits are very important in many different types of cases. A class action lawsuit could be essential when it involves illegal billing practices or misleading labels as well as any other type of unfair business practice. The amount of money individuals receive is often not large. Class action lawsuits have been able to create significant change in the business world and provide positive changes for consumers.

Mass Tort Lawsuit Benefits

The criteria necessary to establish similarities with the individuals involved in the lawsuit is significantly less restrictive than a class action. It is possible in certain situations for the same case to be heard in different courts. These proceedings often cause settlement negotiations to occur. This can be done for all or some of the individual lawsuits. When this happens, a plaintiff can accept or reject an offer without affecting the other lawsuits involved in a mass tort lawsuit.

There are a lot of complex issues to consider before choosing whether to join a class action lawsuit or a mass tort action. This is when a person should discuss their situation with a legal professional. They will know what an individual can expect during the process. A knowledgeable attorney knows what a person will experience and the type of result they can expect.

Adam Richards

About Adam Richards

Adam Richards is a semi-retired business professional originally from Bangor, Maine. He spent the majority of his career in sales and marketing where he rose to the marketing lead of a Fortune 1000 company. He then moved on to helping people as a career counselor that specifically helped bring families to self-sufficiency through finding them rewarding careers. He has now returned to Bangor for his retirement and spends his free time writing. This blog will be about everything he learned throughout his career. He'll write on career, workplace, education and technology issues as well as on trends, changes, and advice for the Maine job market and its employers.