KR LAW ANSWERS YOUR FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1How does KR Law pursue justice for the injury suffered by me or a loved one? In other words, why should I hire you?
KR Law specializes in mass tort litigation. That means we have expertise in handling large cases involving lots of moving parts. When you hire us, you are hiring some of the most competent attorneys in the United States in seeking successful outcomes in personal injury cases.
2Well, what do you mean when you say “mass tort?”
A mass tort describes civil action involving an identical or similar injury suffered or potentially suffered by many people rather than just a single plaintiff. These injuries are caused by the same defendant or a small group of defendants. Defendants are often large companies, such as drug makers and medical device manufacturers
3What is Multidistrict Litigation (MDL)?
Multidistrict litigation, or MDL for short, is a way to consolidate numerous related mass tort cases into a single docket in federal district court. This means a plaintiff who lives in, say, Wisconsin, may find his or her case being managed in the Northern District of Florida or the Eastern District of Texas, to cite examples. KR Law is especially adept at navigating and managing MDLs. Pursuing and forming an MDL creates an efficiency in which litigation costs can be reduced, the outcome of individual cases can remain consistent and any settlement reached can be made on a global basis affecting all plaintiffs. The cases themselves remain separately litigated, and a steering committee of involved attorneys is often formed to manage the complexity of the MDL. MDLs are formed via decisions made by the U.S. Judicial Panel of Multidistrict Litigation (JPML). Either plaintiffs or defendants can seek to centralize actions into an MDL, and the JPML convenes to hear arguments from both sides. It is the JPML that selects the district court that will serve as “home court,” and also the presiding judge.
4How do MDLs differ from class actions?
A class action is a more well-known avenue for allowing multiple plaintiffs to seek compensation for a common cause of action. Unlike MDLs, a class action is a single case, one in which “representative parties” hold themselves out as named plaintiffs acting on behalf of the class. To form a class, federal law dictates that the proponent of the class must show that joinder of individual cases would be impracticable, that common questions of fact and law exist, that the claims and of the representative parties are typical of the larger class and that the representative parties will “fairly and adequately” protect the interests of the class (see Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(a)). Pursuing an MDL rather than a class action allows a plaintiff and his or her attorney to maintain flexibility in the compensation you may receive and a higher relative measure of independence. Also, the ability of the JPML to draw on a national menu of district courts, rather than merely the jurisdiction where the class action is filed, can prove strategically advantageous.
5How do I join an ongoing MDL?
If you believe that you have suffered or potentially suffered an injury caused by a drug or another dangerous product, seek out attorneys such as those at KR Law who specialize in mass tort litigation. You will be asked to fill out what is known as a plaintiff fact sheet (PFS), which records demographic and medical history information, among other types of information. You must also provide documentation to show Proof of Use and Proof of Injury. The attorney will then evaluate your information to determine whether you meet the threshold for joining the MDL as a plaintiff. If you do qualify, the attorney then files a complaint (often a uniform “short-form” complaint) in the MDL jurisdiction on your behalf. Your case may also find its way into an MDL after you and your attorney file an individual case separately in another court, if that court, or the JPML, finds that transferring your case to the home MDL court is most appropriate in avoiding an inconsistent result.
6Is there a time limit on when I can file a mass tort action?
Yes. Mass tort actions are subject to what is known as a statute of limitations (SOL). This means your injury must trace back to a date that is within a specific range of years. If this date of injury pre-dates the beginning of the period of the SOL, you will be ineligible to file a complaint. The actual SOL differs from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.
7What is a bellwether trial?
Sometimes, the JPML or the MDL court may be uncertain what range a potential global settlement involving all plaintiffs will encompass, or how issues such as causation and thethe veracity of warnings might play out. As a result, the court will often allow a handful of individual cases included in the MDL to proceed to trial as a means of gauging jury outcomes and assigned damages. Hence, these trials are referred to as “bellwether” trials.
8How much will pursuing a mass tort action cost me?
KR Law handles mass tort litigation on a contingency-fee basis. That means it costs you nothing upfront to pursue justice by suing the bad actor who allegedly caused your injury. After a settlement or a jury verdict is reached and damages awarded, KR Law retains a third of the award plus costs as its fee for handling your case.
9What damages can I retrieve if my mass tort lawsuit is successful, or a global settlement is reached?
Courts award damages to help make you “whole” after you’ve suffered your injury and endured its aftermath. This includes the retrieval of medical expenses and other costs, including lost wages, a value placed on your pain and suffering and the loss of consortium with your spouse or domestic partner. The MDL court may also award punitive and other special damages that address the conduct of the defendant—the worse a defendant’s negligence, dishonestly, fraudulent concealment or representation or wanton disregard for its customers, the higher the amount of these damages is likely to climb.
10What can I expect from the KR Law attorney who handles my case?
The attorneys at KR Law diligently manage each relationship with our clients. We will always pay attention to your needs. Our ultimate goal is to competently manage mass tort litigation so that you need not worry about your case itself and can focus on your family and your recovery from your injury.
11I notice your firm is based in Birmingham, Alabama. Does that mean I need to live in Birmingham to retain your services?
No. We are a national law firm with national reach. We do not discriminate by geography or limit ourselves to our beloved metropolitan area.
12What is a good example of an MDL that KR Law is pursuing for its clients at the moment?
In Re: Zantac (Ranitidine) Products Liability Litigation is an active MDL centralized in the Southern District of Florida. The attorneys litigating the case on behalf of the plaintiffs, including KR Law, allege that the popular heartburn medication produces a chemical called NDMA at massively unsafe levels, making it a carcinogen that can cause various cancers of the digestive system (most especially liver cancer). This means the four large defendants in the litigation—Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer and Boehringer Ingelheim—and scores of generic drug makers put potentially millions of longtime users of Zantac at serious risk of developing the famously insidious disease. This MDL, as a result, is a vehicle for Zantac users--and sufferers of these cancers--to seek compensation for a particularly egregious injury.