Legal Guide

What Will Be the Hottest Mass Torts in 2022?

What will be the hottest mass torts in 2022?

2021 has been an eventful year in the world of mass tort product liability litigation. We have a lot of major movement in various mass torts after the pandemic slowed things down in 2020. Now that September is halfway over, its time to look forward to 2022. In this post, we will preview what the 4 hottest mass torts will be next year.

#1 – 3M Combat Arms Earplugs Lawsuits

The 3M earplugs litigation became the largest consolidated mass tort in U.S. history this year. Over 200,000 3M earplug lawsuits are currently pending in a class action MDL in the Northern District of Florida (3M Combat Arms Earplug Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2885).  The first 3 bellwether test trials have been held so far this year and yielded somewhat mixed results.

The first bellwether trial in May resulted in a major win for the plaintiffs, with the jury awarding $7.1 million to 3 plaintiffs. The verdict included $2.1 million in punitive damages for each plaintiff. Three weeks later, however, the second bellwether trial resulted in a defense verdict. A third test trial in June resulted in a $1.7 million verdict for a single plaintiff, but that award was reduced to $1,054,000 based on the plaintiff’s contributory negligence.

Two more bellwether trials are set for September and October. Following these, the MDL Judge has ordered the parties to prepare for 6 additional test trials from November 2021 through February 2022. This aggressive bellwether trial schedule will put 3M under extreme pressure to negotiate a global settlement in 2022. This is why this makes the top of our list. We could see the largest mass tort settlement in U.S. history next year.

#2 – Elmiron Vision Damage Lawsuits

Elmiron is a very popular prescription drug that millions of people take everyday to treat chronic bladder conditions. It was recently discovered, however, that prolonged use of Elmiron can cause a very unique type of eye damage called pigmentary maculopathy. This can result in blindness or vision impairment.

When the link between Elmiron use and macular damage first became public, it lead to a small but steady stream of Elmiron lawsuits around the country. As awareness spread among on the medical community and public, however, the number of Elmiron lawsuits getting filed has rapidly accelerated. Earlier this year an Elmiron MDL was formed in New Jersey and over the last 4 months almost 500 new cases have been transferred into it.

Bellwether trials in the Elmiron MDL are not expected until January 2023, but this makes #2 on our list because it has the potential to really explode in 2022. The number of people who use Elmiron is big so the field of potential plaintiffs is large. As more and more people get diagnosed with pigmentary maculopathy and as awareness spreads, we can expect lots more cases to get filed next year.

#3 Paraquat Parkinson’s Disease Lawsuits

Paraquat is an industrial herbicide that is widely used in the agricultural business. a growing body of evidence has linked occupational exposure to paraquat to early onset Parkinson’s disease. There is also evidence that manufacturers knew about the link between paraquat and Parkinson’s but deliberately concealed it.

The paraquat litigation really started to take share in 2021 with a new MDL being created and hundreds of new paraquat lawsuits being filed. We are anticipating a lot of new paraquat claims in 2022 as public awareness continues to spread and more farm workers are diagnosed with Parkinson’s.

#4 CPAP Machine Lawsuits

Earlier this year Philips announced that it was recalling millions of CPAP sleep apnea machines because they may cause users to inhale carcinogenic chemicals. The source of the problem was sound abatement foam used in the machines that deteriorated over time causing users to inhale small particles at night.

The recall immediately prompted a wave of CPAP machine lawsuits and a class action MDL for consolidated handling of the CPAP lawsuits is already in the works. The recall covered an estimated 10 million sleep machine devices which makes for a huge field of potential plaintiffs. This is why we are expecting the CPAP litigation to be a big thing next year.

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