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6 Things/Events That Can Trigger a Mass Tort

what triggers a mass tort

A mass tort is a civil action that involves multiple plaintiffs with similar complaints against the same defendant. The most common mass tort claims involve harm from prescription drugs and other product liability issues, including those related to toxic contamination and faulty medical devices. Although most of these claims are triggered by some sort of injury to the plaintiffs, other events and incidents can also lead to mass tort litigation.

Below are six specific events that can trigger a mass tort claim.

1. Injury

The most common event leading to a mass tort is some type of injury. For example, a dangerous drug may cause life-threatening side effects that were never disclosed to consumers. Alternatively, a defective product may lead to serious injuries for consumers even when it is being used properly. If injured parties can show that the manufacturer of the product had a duty to protect consumers from this injury, they may be able to file a successful mass tort claim against the manufacturer. Examples of claims triggered by injuries include the IVC Filter Mass Tort and the long-standing mass tort case involving Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder.

2. Adverse regulatory action

In some cases, new information about a product's risks may be discovered after the product has already been sold and used. This may lead to a mandatory recall or the publication of new risk-related information. When this occurs, consumers who hear the news of the regulatory action may notice that they have already suffered adverse effects because of the product in question, leading to the development of a mass tort.

3. Voluntary recall

Sometimes, even when new information about a product's risks doesn't lead to a mandatory recall, the manufacturer may decide to recall the product voluntarily. Just as a mandatory recall can spark the creation of a mass tort, a voluntary recall can encourage consumers who have already been harmed by a product to band together and file a claim.

4. Clinical trial

Clinical trials sometimes produce data that sparks a mass tort. For example, if a clinical trial shows that a given drug or medical device is harmful to consumers, this data may be used to support the creation of a mass tort claim.

In an upcoming mass tort involving Essure birth control, Bayer conducted a FDA-mandated clinical trial to educate women and their doctors on the short-term and long-term risks of using Essure. This data, along with over 26,700 complaints about the product, helped to propel the pending mass tort case.

5. Scientific research and articles

Scientific research sometimes contradicts existing medical claims, showing adverse effects or risks that were not disclosed to the public. When this occurs, anyone who has already experienced an injury because of the adverse effects or risks in question may join a mass tort filed against the manufacturer.

6. Off-label marketing

Off-label marketing involves marketing drugs or other products for a use that has not been approved by the appropriate authority. If off-label marketing is shown to be harmful to consumers, a mass tort may result.


Many different events and incidents can trigger a mass tort. If you are thinking about launching a mass tort campaign, you need to be prepared for the influx of incoming calls that is sure to follow. Please contact Alert Communications today to find out how we can help you optimize your intake process for your mass tort marketing campaign.

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Tags: Mass Tort

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