Class action suits can be important in some circumstances. They allow multiple plaintiffs to pool their evidence and resources to take on a large, well-funded opponent. They are typically, the most beneficial to victims when the average claim is small and pursuing an individual law suit would be cost prohibitive. These suits are not, however, right for everyone. If you are considering joining a class action lawsuit, you may want to look at the downsides of this process. It is important to note that, fortunately, there are no hernia mesh lawsuit class actions in the United States. There has never been a hernia mesh class action in the United States. There is an Ethicon Physiomesh hernia mesh class action pending in Canada. There are a 2-3 hernia mesh Multidistrict litigation pending in United states Federal Courts. Avid readers of this hernia mesh lawsuit blog are aware that Multidistrict litigation is very different from a hypothetical hernia mesh class action.
There are no hernia mesh class action lawsuits in the United States
Here are the consolidated lawsuits/ Multidistrict litigation pending in the United States (Please note that these are not hernia mesh class action lawsuits):
- (1) IN RE: ETHICON PHYSIOMESH FLEXIBLE COMPOSITE HERNIA MESH PRODUCTS LIABILITY LITIGATION MDL No. 2782 (Northern District Of Georgia)
- (2) In Re: Atrium Medical Corp. C-Qur Mesh Products Liability Litigation (MDL No. 2753)
- (3) The Kugel hernia mesh MDL in Rhode Island Federal Courts (Was disbanded in 2017 after many cases settled)
- Victims of Bard / Davol hernia mesh are asking a Federal Court panel, The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, to establish an MDL in Federal Court for Bard / Davol surgical mesh (In Re: Davol, Inc. / C.R. Bard, Inc.,Polypropylene Hernia Mesh Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No.2846, JPMD)
- There is also hundreds of consolidated Bard/ Davol hernia mesh lawsuits pending in Rhode Island State Court. Please note that these state Court proceedings are not multidistrict litigation. Multidistrict litigation is only in Federal Courts.
Negatives / Con’s of a class action
1. No choice in representation
First and foremost, you give up the right to have your own attorney in a class action suit. While large firms generally represent clients in class action suits, this doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily getting an attorney with whom you’d want to work. If you join a class action suit, you will have to hope that the attorney chosen to represent your class has your best interests at heart. As stated above a number multidistrict consolidated lawsuits have been established in federal Courts. If the hernia mesh you have implanted is subject to a consolidated proceeding such as multidistrict litigation, you have the right to a lawyer fighting for your rights. This is one of the main distinguishing features of multidistrict litigation (an mdl) from a class action. Hernia mesh law firms have run for the hills from filing a hernia mesh class action, in part, for this reason.
2. Class action: No individual suit
If you join one of these suits, you give up your right to bring an individual suit for the same matter. This means that you have to make the decision that your best – and most financially sound – chance to bring forth your case means throwing your lot in with others rather than being able to go it alone in court. This can be helpful in some cases, but it does mean giving up a fundamental right.
3. Potentially smaller payout
When a class action suit is successful, the award from the judge can look huge. Unfortunately, in many cases the payout to the individual class members can be very small. The larger the pool of potential class members, the less that each member of the class will end up getting if the case is successful. If you’re looking to get compensation for a major financial issue, there’s a very good chance that you won’t get what you need even from a successful class action suit.
4. Slow movement
Class action suits don’t move quickly. These are huge cases that usually end up being fought between titanic enemies for huge sums of money, so things won’t move fast. In many cases, at least one of the sides will use stalling tactics to cause pain to the other side and draw out the time spent in court. While this can be a very good tactic when used by an intelligent attorney, it’s not something you want to deal with when you’re dealing with a major medical issue.
5. Potential for unwanted compensation
The type of compensation that you get from a class action suit may not always be the type of compensation that you want. In fact, it’s common for remuneration in these cases to come in the form of refunds or even coupons for services. While this might be nice to have in some situations, it won’t always help your particular situation. If you need to have a very specific type of compensation, you may be better served by getting your own attorney and staying out of a class action suit.
6. Lack of privacy
Major law suits don’t necessarily stay out of the public eye. They are reported on and become part of the public record. If you join a class action suit, you’re joining something that will be publicized. While you will have some anonymity as part of a larger class, it will be possible for people to connect you to the suit. Depending on the reason that you choose to join the suit, this might be embarrassing or problematic for you. If you need more privacy, you might want to find another legal avenue to pursue.
7. Monetary damages only
Unfortunately, damages will continually be an issue for you as you deal with a class action suit. In most cases, class action suits focus solely on monetary damages. If your goal is to get something other than financial compensation, these suits will do you very little good. While getting the money you deserve is an admirable goal, it is certainly not the only goal of the legal system. If you’re looking to make a difference in the world, a class action suit is not the way to go.
8. Less control
When you join a class action suit, you are handing over all legal control to another entity. You won’t be asked about strategy or goals. You will not get the chance to push for alternative dispute resolution or to decide that it’s time to drop the suit. You are joining a much larger group and unfortunately your input simply cannot be given more weight than the input of any other class member. If you want to be consulted and to have some say about the legal matter at hand, you will need to pursue your own suit.
9. Single chance
One of the most problematic elements of a class action lawsuit is the fact that it’s a one and done proposition. If your suit fails, you don’t get to try again. There’s certainly no chance to appeal the decision and you’ll have to live with whatever the court hands down. You’re giving up a number of your legal rights in order to join the class, something that might not sit right with you when you understand the risks that you might be taking.
10. No room for individual motivation
Finally, it’s important to remember that once you join the class action suit, this is no longer your legal story. Your motivations don’t matter. The changes you wanted to make in the world no longer matter. You are a part of a much larger group, and thus your story is unlikely to be told. If your biggest goal is to get your day in court, you should look for a different type of legal recourse.
Class action suits simply aren’t for everyone. If one of the issues listed above gives you pause, you may want to look into getting your own attorney. whether you need to have more control over your case or you find that your personal motivations are likely to be different than that of the rest of the class, it’s important to determine if you need your own representation.
Thankfully there are no hernia mesh class action lawsuits pending in the United States.