Class Actions, Mass Torts & Multi-District Litigation

When a defendant's conduct results in harming a large number of people in the same way, this creates Class Action lawsuits or Mass Tort lawsuits. For example, if an employer fails to pay overtime to employees in compliance with federal wage and hour law, then a Class Action on behalf of the employees is created. Or, when a pharmaceutical company produces a drug but fails to warn the user that it will double the risk of heart attack, a Mass Tort is initiated. Whether Class Action or Mass Tort, The Cochran Firm  Dothan has extensive experience in both fields. 

What is the difference between a Class Action and a Mass Tort Claim?

A "tort" is a legal word for a "wrongful action" that causes harm to someone else. Sometimes several people – even thousands – can be injured by a single wrongful action, thus creating a "mass" tort. Depending on the circumstances of the case, the defendant's wrongdoing and the resulting injuries may be best addressed through a Class Action. In a Class Action lawsuit, a representative brings a lawsuit on behalf of a group of claimants and essentially stands in the shoes of the rest of the class members. When a "representative" cannot adequately represent a claimant, then the claimants file their own lawsuits. These individual lawsuits are called Mass Tort Claims.

What do I need to know about Class Actions?


Class Actions: a Class Action is when a representative brings a lawsuit on behalf of a group of people who have been harmed in the same way by the same conduct of the same defendant(s). The representative stands in place of the rest of the people in the class and all the members of the class are treated as one party. After the representative files a lawsuit, a court will ultimately decide whether the proposed class of people have claims that can be managed in one litigation and whether the representative can adequately stand in for the class. 


Types of Class Action: Typically, a Class Action focuses on economic harm or injunctive relief (requiring the defendant to do something) rather than physical harm. The advantage of a Class Action is that it allows a group of people who might not ordinarily be able to afford to litigate against a large corporation to pool their resources and prosecute their claims as one group.



Our Experience: The Cochran Firm – Dothan has a wide variety of experience in prosecuting Class Actions across the United States against some of the largest corporations in the country. Some types of Class Actions we have handled:

  • Wage and Hour Claims

  • Environmental Claims

  • Consumer Fraud

  • Antitrust

  • Civil Rights Litigation

Litigation Class Actions requires a thorough knowledge of the special Class Action laws in state and federal courts, as well as the experience in coordinating discovery and managing trial plans to ensure the Class Action is efficiently managed and tried to a verdict. You should ensure that the law firm representing you has experience in prosecuting Class  Actions and sufficient financial and technological resources, as well as staffing to meet the rigorous demands of Class Actions.

What do I need to know about Mass Torts?


Mass Torts: When a group of people have been physically harmed as a result of the same conduct by the same defendant, a Class Action may not be the best litigation tool. When it comes to physical injuries, people have their own stories to tell – the extent of their injuries and how it has affected them and their families. To ensure those stories do not get lost, a lawsuit is filed for each person.


Types of Mass Torts: The most commonly litigated Mass Torts are related to dangerous drugs, defective medical devices and defective products. For example, a manufacturer may have developed and sold a cosmetic that contains a cancer-causing ingredient, which in turn has resulted in hundreds of cases of cancer. Each victim will then file their own lawsuit against the manufacturer and will be required to prove at trial that the manufacturer was negligent, that the negligence caused the victim to develop cancer and the extent of physical and emotional pain and suffering the victim has endured.


Multi-District Litigation: In any given Mass Tort action, there can be thousands of cases pending in the state and federal court systems. To stop these cases from clogging up the court system, the federal judiciary will usually assign a single judge to oversee and administer all of the cases until they are ready for trial. When all of the cases are transferred to the single judge, it is called a "Multi-District Litigation." This is a more efficient way to move the cases through the court system.


Shared Costs and Labor: Because each "Mass Tort" claim is an individual claim, the claimants generally cannot pool their resources and prosecute their claims as one group. Multi-District Litigation, however, allows plaintiff's firms, like The Cochran Firm – Dothan, to join with other nationally recognized firms and pool their resources to establish the defendant's liability. With the Court's approval, the law firms establish committees to work on different portions of the case. This substantially reduces the cost and labor that any one firm would expend litigating individual cases.


Bellwether Cases: The Multi-District Litigation Judge will sometimes order the parties to try a "bellwether" case. This is a test case that highlights the issues and likely outcome of the remaining cases. Through the exhaustive and diligent work of the Committees, including trial teams trying bellwether cases, the cases can sometimes be settled. If they don't settle, then the evidence gathered by the Committees can be used to prepare each individual case for trial.


Our Experience: The Cochran Firm – Dothan has been involved in Mass Tort Litigation for nearly two decades. We have represented Mass Tort claimants from almost every state in cases ranging from dangerous and defective drugs, defective medical devices and defective products. We work closely with the Plaintiffs Committees in Multi-District Litigation Steering and have served on the Steering Committees, Discovery Committees, and Trial Teams. Some of the Mass Tort Litigations we have handled over the years include:


Litigating Mass Tort claims requires a depth of knowledge about complex litigation and experience with the Multi-District Litigation process. To ensure your lawyers have the breadth of knowledge and understanding necessary to prosecute a Mass Tort claim, you should choose a firm experienced in Multi-District Litigation. The Cochran Firm – Dothan has that knowledge and experience in taking Mass Tort Claims from start to finish. Call us today. (334) 673-1555.

Contact us:

Nationally Recognized By:

The Cochran Firm Dothan, PC

111 East Main Street

Dothan, AL 36301

334-673-1555 (phone)

334-699-7229 (fax)


Call toll free:

1 (800) 239-2555

1 (800) 843-3476


Visit The Cochran Firm National website for more Cochran locations and attorneys.

*The information on this website does not constitute legal advice nor form an attorney-client relationship. Please contact The Cochran Firm today to schedule a free consultation.

*No representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers. The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements.
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