If you are filing a lawsuit against Monsanto for cancer caused by its Roundup weed killer product, then you may be confused when your state case is sent to a federal court. You may initially think it’s because you are joining a class action lawsuit since there are many others involved, but it is not a class action lawsuit. Rather, it is multidistrict litigation (MDL).
It is important to know the difference because expectations for either is different and that can impact your decision-making and the outcome of your case.
What is an MDL and its Purpose?
An MDL is a special process that transfers a civil county case to a federal court. These cases usually deal with injuries sustained from things like medical devices or dangerous products. Indeed, an MDL has been established in California to address all the hundreds and thousands of Roundup weed killer cases brought against Monsanto, known as In re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation (MDL 2741).
Characteristics of an MDL include:
- Each case shares at least one question of fact.
- Each case retains his or her own attorney.
- Each case partakes in the discovery, pleadings, and pretrial hearings.
- Each case goes to trial on its own merits.
The purpose of an MDL twofold: efficiency and economics. By combining the discovery and pretrial parts of each case, costs are minimized as well as the time and effort the courts must put into each case. So, it saves everyone money and time.
An MDL will start with strategically selected bellwether cases. These cases will be tried first so that it can be determined what kind of evidence is available and if the plaintiffs’ claims are generally viable.
In the Roundup Weed Killer MDL, there are three bellwether cases and one has already been tried. Edwin Hardeman, 70, received an $80 million award in March 2019. This award is significant.
What is a Class Action Lawsuit and its Purpose?
A class action lawsuit is different from an MDL. Class action lawsuits are a group of people suing the same company for the same injuries. There will be a lead plaintiff in the class action. The lead plaintiff goes to trial on behalf of the other class members. When the case settles or a jury returns a verdict in favor of the plaintiff, then all members share the award according to the terms and conditions first set out by the attorneys on the case.
The class action’s purpose is also efficiency and economy — by combining all these similar cases, it frees up the court’s time and saves all members the expense of extensive attorney fees, investigation and expert testimony fees, because it is all shared.
The class action is distinguished from an MDL because there is only one lawsuit filed by a large number of people and if you win, then all the members share the settlement or award, but if you lose, then no member is permitted to take separate action against the defendant.
To date, there are no class action lawsuits against Monsanto for its product Roundup weed killer.
Contact Resourceful Newport Beach Roundup Litigation Attorneys Today
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer and you believe it’s the result of years of exposure to Roundup weed killer, then you need to contact a personal injury and Roundup tort attorney today. An experienced personal injury attorney in Newport Beach CA can review your case and provide you with viable options.
Contact us at the Ledger Law Firm to schedule your free initial consultation today.