Johnson & Johnson—Powder Fiasco
In recent years, multiple juries have found Johnson & Johnson liable for using contaminated talc in their powder products, which caused cancer in consumers. In July, a jury awarded $4.69 billion to plaintiffs. However, other juries have found tainted talc and cancer claims against Johnson & Johnson unfounded. These types of lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson can be very confusing for injured consumers who are unsure where and how to start the process. If you believe you may have been affected by Johnson & Johnson or a similar situation where a mass tort lawsuit may be warranted, you should know your rights.
Class Action/Mass Tort
These types of lawsuits can come from many different legal issues, such as train accidents, faulty medical devices, chemical exposure, defective products, etc. In these large lawsuits, like J&J talc cases, the process tends to be complicated and time consuming. The defendant is probably a large entity, there are multiple plaintiffs with same or similar claims, and the filing requirements can differ depending on location of the accident, injuries sustained, etc.
The First Step is to retain local counsel. Local counsel can serve multiple purposes in large lawsuits. Once you retain a local personal injury attorney, your counsel can help determine if your injuries and case against an entity is similar to others wishing to file. Then, your local counsel may refer your case to a law firm who litigates mass tort cases. The mass tort or class action law firm can be located in a different state and working on similar cases for plaintiffs in different areas. The local attorney and referred law firm can work together to achieve better results for the client.
In these cases, the number of plaintiffs and the distance between the law firm and plaintiff may play a role in length of time the law suit takes to settle and can make constant communication with plaintiffs difficult. Your local counsel can serve as a conduit to ensure you are sufficiently involved and your case is efficiently resolved.
An initial worry a client may have with retaining attorneys from different law firms, is believing they will be responsible to pay double the bill. This is not true. The attorneys will enter into an agreement to share the responsibilities and the fee, which must be approved by the client. The total fee must be reasonable and is split between the lawyers in accordance with their agreement and the work they’ve each done. Instead of two fees, the lawyers will split total fee in accordance with their agreement.
For example, in personal injury cases, depending on length and density of the case, a client fee agreement may be 67/33—the attorney’s fees are 33 percent of the settlement award. The two attorneys will then split the 33 percent, each a portion of that. Though, if the case is unsuccessful the attorneys will receive nothing and the client will not be responsible for payment.
If you have suffered injuries from an entity or defective product, your case may be a mass tort. Whether your lawsuit is a mass tort or an individual case, the Law Office of William W. Hurst will ensure your case is litigated to its fullest extent so you earn the compensation you deserve.