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Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., has successfully represented clients in complex product liability, toxic tort, and pharmaceutical litigation.

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Current Mass Torts

Do you think you or a loved one suffered harm due to a defective medical device or dangerous drug? You may not be alone. Many others may have suffered the same harm from the same product. You could have what is called a “mass tort” claim. Your next step should be to contact a lawyer who has the skill, experience and resources to protect your rights and pursue the compensation you deserve.

Sterigenics

Federal officials began investigating Sterigenics International’s Willowbrook plant in 2017 after surrounding communities were identified on a national map of health hazards from breathing toxic chemicals.

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Earplugs
3M Defective Earplugs

Soldiers who were unexpectedly exposed to loud noises due to defects in 3m earplugs may have developed serious hearing problems as a result. Lawsuits are now being filed against the manufacturer.

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Talc

Talcum powder has been linked to cases of Ovarian Cancer in women that use, or used, the product often.  Many people who routinely used contaminated talcum powder may only just now develop symptoms of mesothelioma or ovarian cancer.

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Hernia Mesh

Hernia mesh is commonly used in hernia repair surgery, one the most common medical procedures in the United States. The mesh used in these procedures has been linked to numerous complications including organ perforation, chronic pain, mesh migration, and allergic reactions.

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Recent Sterigenics News

You need to stay up to date on news and information about a mass tort case that impacts you or a loved one. Check here for latest news reports, FDA warnings, recalls, studies, court cases and more.

Willowbrook residents demand answers about facility’s toxic emissions

For decades, Willowbrook residents may have unknowingly inhaled a cancer-causing gas emitted by a local Sterigenics International industrial plant…

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Multiple lawsuits filed against Sterigenics International for knowingly emitting cancer-causing toxin from Willowbrook plant

CHICAGO (September 27, 2018) – Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, P.C., has filed multiple lawsuits against Sterigenics International and its parent company…

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Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., statement on Governor Rauner’s Sterigenics call to action

CHICAGO (October 3, 2018) – Tuesday, Governor Bruce Rauner joined a chorus of elected officials calling for the shutdown of the Willowbrook Sterigenics…

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Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., now accepting cases for Willowbrook families concerned about toxic emissions released from Sterigenics International

CHICAGO (September 6, 2018) – Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., announced today the firm is now investigating on behalf of multiple clients potential…

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Lisa Madigan, DuPage prosecutor urge court to shut down Sterigenics in new bipartisan lawsuit

WILLOWBROOK, Ill. (October 30, 2018) – Attorney General Lisa Madigan and DuPage County state’s attorney Robert Berlin filed a bipartisan lawsuit…

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Illinois House committees hold hearing concerning Sterigenics toxic emissions

CHICAGO (October 29, 2018) – Residents who live near the Sterigenics plant in Willowbrook sounded off at a hearing Friday held by the Illinois House…

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Sterigenics Attorney Referrals

Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., has earned a reputation of excellence among the legal community in Chicago, Illinois and throughout the country. Our firm has recovered more than $1.5 billion on behalf of our clients and obtained more than 260 multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements.

Mass Torts FAQs

What is a mass tort?

A “tort” occurs when a person harms another through their negligent, reckless or intentional act. A “mass tort” arises when the same wrongful act harms numerous people in the same way.

In a mass tort action, the harmed people are the plaintiffs. The wrongdoers, or defendants, usually are one or a handful of corporations.

Mass torts commonly involve people harmed by defective products such as medical devices or pharmaceutical products. A mass tort often is triggered by a U.S. Food and Drug Administration warning, product recall, news reports or a study that reveals dangers associated with a product.

What is an MDL?

“MDL” stands for “multidistrict litigation.” When many different plaintiffs file lawsuits in federal courts in different parts of the country against the same defendants, alleging similar harm, the lawsuits can be centralized in the same U.S. District Court. MDLs are common in product liability claims.

An MDL helps to speed up and cut down on the costs of litigation and avoids the risk of inconsistent rulings. At the same time, it allows individual plaintiffs to maintain separate lawsuits.

The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) decides whether to consolidate lawsuits into an MDL, chooses the court where the MDL will be conducted and picks the judge or judges to oversee the litigation.

What is a bellwether trial?

The purpose of an MDL is to streamline the process of pretrial litigation in a mass tort case. Towards the end of this process, one or more plaintiffs whose claims are representative of the plaintiffs will have their cases selected for what is called a “bellwether trial.”

The outcome of this trial (or trials) will help both the other plaintiffs and the defendant(s) to forecast what could happen in future trials.

Often, when bellwether trials go in favor of the plaintiffs, it leads to the defendant(s) going forward with a settlement that will resolve all other claims, or a “global settlement.”

What is an MCL?

“MCL” stands for “multicounty litigation.” An MCL is similar to multidistrict litigation (MDL). While an MDL centralizes individual lawsuits filed in different federal district courts, an MCL centralizes separate lawsuits filed in different counties within a state court system.

The court that oversees the MCL typically is a specialized court within the state court system, like a “business court,” or it is the court located in the county where the defendant’s headquarters are located.

An MCL, like an MDL, can make pretrial matters move along much more smoothly and eliminate the risk of inconsistent rulings in different courts.

What is a class action?

Class actions are very common in product liability claims. When many different people suffer similar harm due to a product defect, they may choose to join together in a single lawsuit that is filed against the manufacturer of the product.

Typically, one or a handful of plaintiffs whose injuries are representative of the others harmed will be given an opportunity to serve as the “lead plaintiffs” or “class representatives.”

A class action lawsuit may be filed in a state court or federal court.

What is a product liability claim?

A product liability claim is a claim brought against the manufacturer, seller or others involved in the chain of distribution of a product that contains a defect that has harmed you or others. Three types of defects commonly give rise to a product liability claim:

  • Design defects The product was designed in a way that makes it dangerous when used as intended.
  • Manufacturing defects Even though the product’s design is not flawed, it was made in a way that makes it dangerous when used.
  • Labeling defect When a product is allowed to get into consumer’s hands without proper instructions on how to use it safely or without adequate warnings about risks that can arise when using the product.

In some cases, a product may contain one or more of these defects. Often, an issue that arises in these cases is proving that the defect exists and that it caused a person’s harm rather than some other cause. Experts typically are needed to establish causation.

Product liability litigation can be complicated, expensive and time-consuming. For this reason, it is important to work with a law firm that has experience in this area of the law as well as the resources to take on the case.

How does a mass tort differ from other product liability lawsuits?

A mass tort is a type of product liability action. It is a term that describes what occurs when numerous people have suffered the same injuries or illness from the same type of product defect. Usually, the products are manufactured by one company or a handful of companies.

Mass tort cases typically are consolidated into class action lawsuits, multidistrict litigation (MDL) or multicounty litigation (MCL). If the manufacturer’s liability is established by a jury verdict, or if there is overwhelming evidence of liability, it may result in a large settlement, or “global settlement.”

What are the types of damages compensable in a mass tort?

The types of damages that can be sought in a mass tort action are similar to those in other types of personal injury claims. The goal is to make a plaintiff as “whole” as possible, or to return a plaintiff to the position he or she was in before the harm done by the defendant. Typically, the damages fall within four categories:

  • Past and future medical expenses
    Compensation can be sought for emergency care, surgery, hospitalization, medication, assistive devices, rehabilitation and any other reasonably and necessary medical expenses.
  • Lost income and diminished future earning capacity
    Coverage of all wages a plaintiff has lost (including bonuses, commissions and fringe benefits) and the loss of any income a plaintiff would have earned in the future.
  • Pain and suffering
    Compensation for the physical pain that a plaintiff has suffered as well as scarring, disfigurement, disability, mental anguish, emotional distress and loss of enjoyment of life.
  • Loss of consortium
    In some cases, these damages may be sought as well. They are aimed at compensating a victim’s loved one’s for harm done to their relationship, including the loss of companionship and intimacy.

Punitive damages may be sought as well. These damages are sought to punish a defendant for especially egregious misconduct and to deter the defendant from repeating the misconduct in the future. For example, if a medical device company knew a product had a dangerous defect but did nothing to warn patients or doctors about it, it may be the basis for a punitive damages claim.

How do I get started with a mass tort claim?

The first step in a mass tort claim may be to contact your doctor if you believe you have suffered harm from a defective medical device or dangerous drug. A doctor can diagnose what has happened to you and suggest a course of treatment, which may include a revision surgery or a prescription for a safer drug.

The next step is to contact an attorney. Most law firms, including Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., will provide you with a free consultation. During this meeting, a lawyer will learn more about your case, answer your questions and explain the process your case will likely follow as it moves forward.

A lawyer can then get to work on investigating your claim, consulting with experts and preparing it to be filed in the proper state or federal court. In some cases, your lawyer can shepherd your claim through complex litigation taking place on a national scale.

Do I have to pay you money up front to be included in a mass tort case?

You should never have to pay any money up front to be included in a mass tort. At Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., for instance, we will charge you no fees for our legal services or litigation costs unless a verdict or settlement is obtained in your favor. Upon reaching a favorable result, our firm would receive an agreed-upon percentage of the award which you receive.

This is known as a contingency fee agreement. It allows you to get the legal help you need without concerns about costs.

Will I need to travel to appear at trial?

In most mass tort cases, only one or a few plaintiffs actually need to appear at trial. These are plaintiffs whose cases involve facts and legal issues that are representative of the other plaintiffs.

In a class action, these plaintiffs are referred to as the “class representatives” or “lead plaintiffs.” In a MDL or MCL, they are plaintiffs whose claims are litigated in “bellwether trials,” or trials that can forecast what will likely happen in future litigation.

So, unless you are a lead plaintiff or your case is involved in a bellwether trial, you likely won’t have to appear at trial.

How will I know what is happening with my case?

We can’t speak for other law firms. However, at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., we take pride in always providing our clients with regular updates about the status of their case, responding to all of their phone calls and answering all of their questions.

We know your case is important to you. We want to make sure that you know what is happening at all times.

To learn more about your law firm’s approach to serving our clients in mass tort cases, simply call or connect with us online today.

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