Multidistrict Litigation Basics: A Primer for Plaintiffs

Elizabeth Chamblee Burch
May 1, 2019

Mesh Medical Device News Desk, May 1, 2019, by Elizabeth Chamblee Burch~ In recognition of World Mesh Awareness Day, I thought I’d write a longer post about the nuts and bolts of hiring an attorney and what should you expect if your case is part of a mass tort—e.g., if there are hundreds or even thousands of people who allege injuries from the same product?

I'm a law professor at the University of Georgia School of Law and an expert in mass torts and multidistrict litigation. I don’t represent any clients and I’m not affiliated with the attorneys or parties on either side in any way.

Elizabeth Chamblee Burch

I am conducting a study on all multidistrict proceedings in which the defendant targeted or advertised its product or medical device to women. The project asks plaintiffs involved in these cases, which include pelvic mesh, to confidentially share their litigation experiences. If you’re suing over pelvic mesh, please, please participate by filling out this survey. I want to hear about what’s working well and what needs to be changed in these lawsuits and the more people I hear from, the better able I am to speak to those issues. I will not disclose any names or identifying information.

Finally, if you want to know more about the topics in this post, I have a book coming out this May, Mass Tort Deals: Backroom Bargaining in Multidistrict Litigation, that includes data on some of the early pelvic mesh and hernia mesh litigation that might be of interest to you all. The first chapter is devoted to some of the basics of the MDL process.

Here are the topics this longer post covers:

  • hiring a lawyer;
  • what to look for when signing a retainer agreement;
  • what is multidistrict litigation;
  • what's the difference between a class action and multidistrict litigation;
  • why doesn't my lawyer want me to speak publicly;
  • what are plaintiff fact sheets;
  • how can I get my case out of an MDL proceeding;
  • my lawyer wants me to settle, but I'm not so sure;
  • I can't find a lawyer to take my case;
  • next steps you can take.
  • HIRING A LAWYER .....(continue reading here)  
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