Protecting Consumers from the Wrongful Actions of Corporations.
By and large, corporations do great things for our society. We all benefit from their advancements and creations on a daily basis. But sometimes, a decision is made to put profits ahead of safety. My job now is to seek justice for those who are hurt by those wrong decisions and to ensure that companies make better decisions in the future. Richard J. Hood
Corporations play an important role in the advancement and operation of our society. With this role, comes a responsibility to protect the public by ensuring products and services are safe. When corporations withhold important safety information in order to protect their bottom lines, they can and should be held accountable for any resulting damages.
At Atlas Partners & The Hood Law Firm, we take this responsibility seriously and serve as advocates for individuals and families that are affected by the wrongful decisions and actions of corporations. We offer aggressive and knowledgeable legal representation for persons who suffer as a result of defective products and drugs and help affected individuals and families seek justice for wrongful actions, including:
Richard J. Hood, founder of Atlas Partners and The Hood Law Firm, is known for his experience and success in product liability law. He is passionate about helping individuals and families across the country who have been hurt by corporations that have chosen to conceal important safety information about drugs, medical devices and other products and strives to hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions.
Mr. Hood is not afraid to challenge the most successful corporations for their wrongdoings and is equipped with the knowledge, skill and determination to obtain maximum financial recoveries for his clients. To learn more about our law firm or the areas of law which we practice, please browse our site. If you would like to discuss a possible injury claim with Mr. Hood, please contact us today by calling (844) 446-4663 or sending an email to our firm.
We are here for you!
We represent individuals who are harmed by side effects of drugs when drug manufacturers fail to warn doctors and patients.
We represent individuals who are harmed by medical devices that are defectively designed or manufactured.
Here are answers to frequently asked questions about products liability mass torts. Please review the questions and answers below. If your question isn't here, please do not hesitate or contact us by phone or email.
(This FAQ section should not be considered legal advice nor does reading it create an attorney / client relationship.)
A tort is a civil, not criminal, wrong recognized by law as grounds for a lawsuit. Mainly, a tort comes about when a person, including a corporation, wrongfully injures another person. A mass tort is when an individual's wrongful acts or a product or a class of products is defective and that defect hurts a number of people.
In a mass tort, it is often more efficient (and ultimately their clients are better served) for a lawyer representing a number of injured people to combine forces with other attorneys representing similarly injured people. Oftentimes, these attorneys will seek to consolidate the cases from all across the country before one judge. This one judge will be responsible for the conduct of the common pieces of a mass tort like discovery and pre-trial motions.
Why consolidate? Many of the companies involved as defendants in bad drug, bad device, or bad product litigation are among the largest, multi-national firms in the world. As you may imagine, these companies have the resources to spend vast amounts of money to defend their products. When a company has that much money and has a lot at stake, it will hire the best law firms in the country. Many of these law firms have 1000s of lawyers.
Firms like ours that represent individual plaintiffs average fewer than a dozen lawyers to litigate your case and usually only twice that number of paralegals and/or case managers to work with you on specific injury and proof issues. We may be very talented lawyers, but because a handful of lawyers can't be in 20 cities at the same time to take or defend depositions, sometimes a lot of talented lawyers from different firms need to work together for our clients' common benefit. When we combine forces, we can greatly strengthen and enhance our ability to support our clients and combat these corporate giants.
A class action is one way to resolve a mass tort, but not all mass torts are class actions. In a class action, one or a few “named plaintiffs” represent a group of people. A class action is a way for a large group of people who have common facts and legal theories about their typical injuries and causes to also have a common resolution. In the 1980s and '90s, lawyers resolved class actions where several individuals were physically injured by a drug. But the law has evolved and courts no longer favor class actions to resolve physical injury mass torts. Currently, class actions are for economic injuries, or injuries where people's pocketbooks are injured and not their bodies. In modern Mass Torts, the personal (physical) injury cases are handled in Multi-District Litigations which are handled and resolved as multiple, single-injury cases. Class actions are used to resolve the parts of drug and device cases that center around refunds to consumers because the drug didn't work as advertised or to pay for medical monitoring for potential future injuries related to a failing implanted device.
Depending on what stage in which you join a mass tort litigation, it may take between 3-7 years to resolve your individual portion of a mass tort. It is not a fast process.
While we strive to maintain contact with clients and to provide periodic updates, we can get pretty busy. As you will see in the answer below, our attorneys will be very busy and there will be a lot of moving parts in the actual litigation and our staff and experts will be requesting and reviewing client medical records, but there will be very few updates that directly affect a client's individual claim. In Mass Tort cases, no news is generally good news; however, please feel free to check in with us periodically for a brief update (be prepared to hear that there is no update) and always feel free to call us if you remember something that affects your claim or if you need to update your contact information.
General stages of a mass tort litigation:
Before we can file a lawsuit or take on more than the first client(s) who introduce us to the case, our firm works diligently to investigate and research the suspect drug, device, or product and the connection between our clients' claimed injuries and how the product more likely than not caused or was a factor in the injury. During this stage, we consult with expert scientists and medical practitioners to develop the scientific theory and liability story of how the product interacts within the human body to cause a physical injury. This stage requires a significant investment in time and money by the firm.
After you retain us as counsel, our paralegals and case management staff works closely with you to gather medical and pharmacy records to establish:
Initially, we may ask you to gather your or your loved one's records. If that is too difficult an undertaking or if we need records for locations that are closed or may have changed its corporate structure, we may need to engage medical records retrieval specialists. In our experience, this step in the process can take a long time because most people injured by drugs or devices visit many different doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies over the course of their taking the drug or dealing with the device and then dealing with their resulting injury. The first location you think of may not be correct. The most important thing we can do to support you and any of the other litigation steps is to communicate. When we contact you to get more information about anything, please get back to us. If you move or change your phone number or email, please contact us with your updated info.
We do not file lawsuits to harass companies or to get a case filed ahead of other plaintiffs' law firms. We take our duties and responsibilities as attorneys very seriously and will file a law suit on your behalf only after we have done a reasonable inquiry into the law and facts of your particular circumstances. That means that we have retrieved necessary records and the firm or trained experts review those records. We file cases as they are qualified by the facts or no later than the Statute of Limitation (the time limit set by state law for when a law suit may be filed for a products liability case) for your particular case expires. The timing depends on legal considerations and the cost of filing. Once a suit is filed, the defendant can commence discovery on you and your background.
The defendants spend a lot of money and time reviewing each filed plaintiff’s facts and evidence. Once we file on your behalf, defense (defendant company’s teams of lawyers) will:
It may seem intrusive, but it is a part of the process.
We will also have to fill out a Plaintiff Fact Sheet (“PFS”) that discloses to the defense your medical history and other information that is relevant to your law suit. Rest assured that your attorneys will negotiate the scope of the PFS to minimize the intrusion into your private life and to limit the amount of information and effort you need to expend to pursue your claim.
Most of your interactions with the firm will be with paralegals, case managers and our consulting experts. Your attorneys supervise the actions of the firm’s staff and agents, but they spend the bulk of their efforts: engaging defense counsel, reviewing defense evidence, taking and defending depositions of witnesses and experts, developing scientific and legal theories, traveling to defense and expert locations, and attending, arguing and presenting in court.
Our litigation attorneys create and work within the Multi-District Litigation ("MDL") and any State Court Consolidation proceedings. The MDL and state court coordination phases are these:
Our goal is to resolve the bulk of our clients’ claims by settlement. We are prepared to go to trial, but trials are very expensive. Trial expenses are initially paid by the attorneys, but eventually those expenses are reimbursed by the plaintiff out of his or her recovery. Even if you win at trial, the defendant(s) can appeal and the large jury award numbers you read in the news are eventually reduced by a private settlement to a much lower number than the jury award. That number never makes the news. Court costs as well as all other costs associated with an individual claim in trial (attorney fees, expert fees, filing fees, etc.) are very expensive, and a jury trial is much more of a gamble. So settlements are generally how we resolve mass torts.
As opposed to class action settlements where every class member receives the same award (usually a coupon or credit, not money), mass tort settlements are individualized to the plaintiffs’ facts and circumstances. Even when the settlement is for a large group, how neutral claims administrators divide the settlement funds among the claimants is individualized and fair in its distribution. It is extremely important to note that the resolution process that occurs after settlement can take six months to several years. A neutral claims administrator must qualify all the claims, get claimants to outright accept or appeal then accept their award, and clear any potential liens (bankruptcy, Medicare, Medicaid, etc.) before settlement funds can be released to our clients.
We can never guarantee that ANY case will reach a settlement or receive an award at trial. We are confident, however, that we have weighed the general facts and law and our experiences with these types of cases against these same defendants to determine our probability of success and approximate values. The majority of our cases will be resolved positively for our clients; otherwise it would not be proper to seek out additional clients beyond those who brought the case to our attention. What we can promise is that:
Once we (for our group of clients) or the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee (for all plaintiffs in the litigation) enter into a master settlement agreement, we can give clients a more concrete answer as to whether their claims will qualify for settlement and generally for how much it may settle.
There likely will be multiple times throughout the course of the litigation when disclosure of some of a client's personal information is necessary. First, because of HIPAA laws, we cannot obtain medical records without giving the client's medical provider personal information in order to retrieve his or her medical records. We must be able to supply enough information to prove that clients are who we say they are. Second, the defense must be given the opportunity to obtain plaintiff medical records, as well, and they, like us, cannot get these without sufficient personal information. Additionally, in order to file a claim or participate in a settlement, we again must be able to provide enough information to the court and defendants to prove plaintiffs are who they say they are and to establish lifestyle facts and medical histories relevant to the case. Finally, the courts and any appointed settlement administrators may require personal information to determine whether or not plaintiffs are already represented by other counsel or have any outstanding issues (e.g. bankruptcies and liens) that would prevent them from releasing settlement funds.
Nevertheless, we will never share a client's private information with outside parties without the client's prior knowledge and consent. We safeguard client information and use it only as necessary to prosecute a client's claim against the defendant.
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