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Experienced Product Liability Representation

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
Atlas Partners

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:

  • Failure to disclose important safety information about a product
  • Failure to adequately test a product before releasing it to the market
  • Failure to conduct thorough research into reported injuries
  • Failure to provide adequate warnings about the potential risks associated with pharmaceuticals, medical devices and other products
  • Putting profits before consumer safety
  • Wrongful marketing of a product, including pushing sales of a product for off-label uses

Experience You Can Trust

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.

Practice Areas

We are here for you!

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Dangerous Drugs

We represent individuals who are harmed by side effects of drugs when drug manufacturers fail to warn doctors and patients.

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Dangerous Devices

We represent individuals who are harmed by medical devices that are defectively designed or manufactured.

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Defective Products

If you or a loved one are injured by a defect in the design or manufacture of a vehicle or other consumer product, we can help.

"Never fear quarrels, but seek hazardous adventures."
Alexandre Dumas, The Three Musketeers

We will fight for you

Frequently Asked Questions

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.)

What is a "Mass Tort"?

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.

Is a Mass Tort the same as a Class Action?

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.

How long will this case take? It feels like it’s taking forever, what’s going on? I haven't had an update on my case in a while?

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:

Initial Litigation Inquiry

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.

Gathering Client Facts and Evidence

After you retain us as counsel, our paralegals and case management staff works closely with you to gather medical and pharmacy records to establish:

  1. Proof of a qualifying injury, and
  2. Proof of use of the name brand drug, not its generic, or the implantation of the appropriate device.

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.

Filing a Law Suit

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.

Defense Discovery on Client Facts and Evidence

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:

  1. Request and then review your records,
  2. Get your HIPAA authorization to request and review additional records,
  3. Search for and review your public social media, and
  4. May request emails and letters you may have sent or received regarding your injuries and use of their product.

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.

Attorney Litigation Actions

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:

  1. Preliminary matters – Appointing a unified leadership to represent the plaintiffs (Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee); establishing discovery parameters, and; arguments and rulings on motions to dismiss cases.
  2. Discovery phase – We request and defendants produce evidence. We then get to sift through millions of pages of documents to learn about what Pfizer knew and when they knew it. Both sides will also get to depose each other’s witnesses. Both sides will exchange expert reports and have a chance to examine the other side’s experts. The discovery phase can last anywhere from six to 24 months.
  3. Case dispositive law and motions practice – Both sides will file motions to exclude the other’s experts and ultimately file motions for Summary Judgment to have the case decided in their favor prior to a trial by a jury. This phase usually lasts two to three months.
  4. Bellwether trials – The MDL Judge may hold one or a few bellwether trials that will be used by the Judge to indicate to the parties whether the case is winnable by the plaintiffs and, if so, how much the jury would award for damages. During the course of the litigation, plaintiffs’ attorneys work together to get cases to trial. In a mass tort, it would be nearly impossible to try every single case. The Florida tobacco litigation is trying to do so, but it is now 10 years into the individual trial program and they have yet to resolve more than 150 of the thousands of pending suits that arose from claims that date back to the 1990s. Florida tobacco trials have also had mixed results with 2/3 plaintiffs' verdicts and 1/3 defense verdicts. So when we work for trials, we work to get a handful of cases to Bellwether trials. Bellwether trials are trials that are used to get jurors’ views on liability. A trial for a complex case, like yours, generally lasts five to eight weeks and may cost up to a million dollars for us to prosecute. They are not always successful and sometimes they are very successful. The important thing to note about Bellwether trials and their results is that win or lose the trial helps ultimately to resolve the litigation and move the case forward so they can get relief to our clients - including you.

Resolutions

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.

How much money will I get? How much is my case worth?

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:

  • We will work tirelessly to seek justice and work for a fair resolution of our clients' claims.
  • If a client's law suit is chosen for trial, we will prosecute the case to the fullest.
  • Each clients' settlement offers will be considered on their own merits based on clients' pain and suffering and the facts of their claims.

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.

Why do you, the courts or the drug companies need private information about me?

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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ATTORNEY ADVERTISEMENT - Thank you for your visit. The content published on this website was not written by medical professionals and should not, at any point, be mistaken for medical advice. Furthermore, the information on this site is intended for educational purposes only and should never interfere with a patient/site visitor and his or her healthcare provider. In addition, viewing the content on this website, requesting additional information, or transmitting information through a contact form should never be considered the formation of an attorney-client relationship. The material published on this site is general and may not apply to your specific circumstances. Every case comes with its own set of unique circumstances; past success discussed on this site does not guarantee future performance. Information found on this website should not be used as incentive to act without seeking counsel from a professional.
Product Liabilty, Defective Drugs, Medical Device