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Tort Class Actions: What They Can and Cannot Achieve

NCJ Number
Trial Volume: 26 Issue: 2 Dated: (February 1990) Pages: 59-63
P D Rheingold
Date Published
5 pages
Lawyers representing plaintiffs are equally divided on the use of class action lawsuits in tort cases, even though courts now tend to use mandatory classes in tort actions in order to dispose of large groups of cases that threaten to clog court dockets.
Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governs class actions in Federal courts, and it is discussed in detail, along with several large class action suits brought in the last ten years dealing with the Dalkon Shield, the Hyatt sidewalk collapse, Benedectin, Agent Orange, and asbestos contamination. Courts can manipulate outcomes in mass tort litigation by the way they interpret facts. Additionally, courts are no longer concerned with theories for not permitting tort class actions. Several issues not yet solved by courts dealing with class action tort lawsuits include how they can gain control over some cases when prospective plaintiffs have yet to be injured or born and whether defendants should create funds out of which all plaintiffs would be paid. 19 footnotes.


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