Why Should Class Action Lawsuits Matter? A Look at Product Defects

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John Hopkins

Why Should Class Action Matter to You?



According to a bill pending in the House of representatives, class actions are bad for you and multi-district litigation is not your friend. HR 985 is an example of our legislators acting out of complete ignorance or an effort to pay back big contributors like corporations and insurance companies.

If I make widgets intended to be installed in humans for medical reasons, the standard of care for that manufacturing requires a high degree of care for obvious reasons. I am making a profit from a device that can hopefully help treat injured or ill patients. And, that is all a good thing.

Six metal shapes and one defective part over white background. Illustration of non compliant product or manufacturing problems.

Defective Products = injured people

If I start manufacturing the widgets from an inferior grade of material because I can make them at a reduced cost, but sell them at the higher cost I have been, you expect competition to help control that. But, because my patent on the widget will prevent competitors from making a widget of their own, I have many years to rake in the profits. Still not necessarily a bad thing – maybe a little greedy, but, hey its capitalism.

If the inferior material I decided to use to reduce my cost per widget make people sick, what is to be done?

This is a case perfect for what is called a class action or for multi-district litigation (MDL). Why?

  • A large number of people will have been injured or killed by the decision to use inferior materials in the widget.
  • The evidence required to prove the materials used were inferior and the widget was defective will be the same for everyone.
  • The evidence required to prove the widget caused the injuries or deaths will be the same or similar for everyone.

The most efficient method of handling these types of cases is NOT to force a 1000 individual lawsuits; to go through the extraordinary expense of discovery in each; or to stretch the capabilities of the court’s by trying all 1000 cases individually.

Congress, however, in its infinite wisdom, believes consumers would be better off if they pass what they are calling “Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2017”.

By any estimation, this bill will result in consumers having the courthouse doors slammed shut.

The residual effects will be to increase health insurance premiums; increased unemployment claims; increases in Medicare and Social security disability claims and other effects; since people must seek payment of health costs, lost wages and disability compensation from other than the negligent party.

It is a bad and unnecessary bill that has no potential to result in “fairness”

Go to https://democracy.io/#/ to find your representatives and send them a message you want your rights upheld and to vote no on H.R. 985.


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