What is a Mesothelioma Class-Action Lawsuit?
Class-action lawsuits are when many plaintiffs with similar cases form one suit against a similar defendant. One plaintiff is named as the lead to represent the entire group. Together, they ask the court to find the defendant liable. The class seeks money, which is equally split among the group.
Mesothelioma lawsuits are part of asbestos litigation. Lawsuits concerning mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases like lung cancer, asbestosis, and pleural disorders are the longest-running civil suits in American legal history.
There were so many asbestos-related lawsuits filed in the United States federal and state courts that the judicial system was unable to handle them individually.
Many plaintiffs banded together and had their claims heard jointly in class-action lawsuits.
For some time, class-action suits were seen as the most efficient way of dealing with hundreds of thousands of individual asbestos exposure claims. The theory was that since most plaintiffs had similar complaints against similar defendants, the outcome should be equally similar.
However, the one-size-fits-all approach to class-action lawsuits wasn’t suitable for mesothelioma cases. Too much money was involved to give blanket awards. Furthermore, the case facts differed from other asbestos litigations since mesothelioma was the worst medical outcome for someone exposed to asbestos. The consequences of mesothelioma were far more serious.
Mesothelioma Class-Action Lawsuits Today
Mesothelioma class-action lawsuits were popular during the late twentieth century, but in 1997, the United States Supreme Court ruled that class-action suits were inappropriate for mesothelioma cases.
Today, there are no mesothelioma class actions in U.S. Federal courts, and only occasionally are they heard at the state level. Now, most mesothelioma lawsuits are litigated as individual claims and settled according to their merit.