People often confuse mass tort cases with class action lawsuits, but the difference lies in the fact that mass tort cases involve an event where a lot of people are injured or killed at one time. West Virginians may be familiar with the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster which killed 29 miners in a single event. Going further back in time, the Willow Island Tower collapse is another example of a single event disaster.
The Mass Litigation Panel
Here in West Virginia, we have a Mass Litigation Panel which is a group of judges who deal with cases involving multiple people injured or killed in an event. These events could be explosions, fires, mine explosions, industrial accidents where a roof falls in or an oven explodes, electrical disasters or chemical leaks. All of these are examples of mass torts and they are handled by the Mass Litigation Panel which facilitates getting multiple families through the court system as efficiently and inexpensively as possible.
Occasionally a case might stay with the judge it was filed in front of, but many times litigators themselves or the Supreme Court will request the Mass Litigation Panel step in to help families get quick resolution of their cases. The panel provides a transparent process while keeping costs under control. It allows judges and lawyers to focus on the “discovery process,” which details the stories from the people bringing the lawsuits as well as the side of the story from the companies being sued. The process is done in an expedited manner so that families who are suffering from a death or serious injury can have closure as soon as possible.
If you have further questions concerning mass tort cases in West Virginia, you can click on the Contact Us tab at the top of the page or call 855-344-9100.