Why Mass Action is Best for the DePuy Hip Implant Lawsuit
Many different law firms are suing DePuy Orthopaedics over the faulty ASR XL Acetabular System. In a personal, vulnerable situation like this hip implant case, it can be difficult to assess the situation and make the right legal decision for you. In this article, we'd like to break down the difference between mass action, class action, and solo cases so you can make a well-informed choice for yourself.
"One Riot, One Ranger"
When a single person with a single lawyer brings a case against one organization, our firm's Jim Moriarty likes to call it a "one riot, one ranger" case: one person was harmed, and one person needs to set it right.
Let's take a hypothetical. Company X has a trucking business. One of its drivers runs into a pedestrian and causes serious injury. The driver was clearly negligent and the pedestrian was clearly hurt. The damages amount to $1 million. If the lawyer presents a good case, it's likely that the case will be settled for the $1 million, and Company X won't bother spending much on its own legal defense.
Company X could, of course, spend $1 million to avoid paying the $1 million to the plaintiff, but this would take up time, company resources, and would likely land them some bad press. If the money will be spent anyway, it's in Company X's best interest to simply pay the plaintiff with it instead of using up those resources.
"One riot, one ranger" is a very effective way to settle a case with a single client who has a single complaint, because it simply isn't worth the legal fees to Company X to defend the case when it can be settled for its fair value. They would rather settle the case, reluctantly compensate the plaintiff for his injury, and move on.
So if "one riot, one ranger" cases are effective, why isn't that the best way to bring a case against DePuy for their faulty hip implant?
If a single person had received a single faulty hip from DePuy, it would be a great way to bring the case. Unfortunately, we're dealing with 93,000 people who received recalled hip implants, many of whom will now have medical consequences.
And in that situation, the math starts to work against the plaintiffs.
Bluffing Without a Hand
Going back to Company X for a moment, let's say that instead of the truck running into a single pedestrian, the truck ran into a plane full of people. 200 people are seriously injured. Each of those 200 people runs out and gets a lawyer. The cost of the injuries is far beyond our original case scenario - perhaps a few people have injuries totaling $1 million worth of compensation, but others will have lower or higher damages.
Instead of paying a one-time settlement of $1 million, Company X is now looking at paying several hundred million, because there are so many people to settle with.
Suddenly, shelling out a couple million in lawyer's fees to defend against the lawsuits is a much better deal for Company X.
Each individual lawyer (assuming they are working on a contingent fee basis) will have to put up his or her own money to fight the case. Company X can afford to put a lot more money into the case than the lawyers can because they are ultimately saving themselves from the even more expensive consequences of settlement.
One plaintiff might have a $10,000 case, and the plaintiff's lawyer might be willing to put in up to that amount of his own money to see justice served. But Company X can afford to put in millions - even if the case isn't actually worth that amount - just so they won't have to settle with the other 200 individual cases as well.
In a case where there are many people who have been harmed, it's a case of "divide and conquer." The more lawyers who are depending only on their own funds to bring a case against Company X, the more power and leverage Company X has. They know the lawyer can only afford to put in a certain low amount of money, so when the bargaining starts, the lawyer is bluffing with a bad hand. Company X knows it can outbid him. The lawyer knows Company X can outbid him. He's got nothing to bargain with.
Enter the mass action lawsuit.
The Pocket Ace: Mass Action Lawsuit
Every individual client needs personal attention in a case like this. Everyone has different injuries, different changes to their lifestyle that need to be recompensed, and different problems that need to be addressed.
However, there is a great deal of overlap when it comes to researching the case. All of the plaintiffs in the Company X case were struck by the same vehicle, for example. If 200 different lawyers are working each of the plaintiff's individual cases, each of those lawyers has to do their own research on the driver, the vehicle, and the circumstances that led to the accident.
If one lawyer brings a lawsuit on behalf of all of those 200 plaintiffs, he only has to do that research once. That lowers his costs, which means he can start to compete with Company X in the game of who has the most money to bring to the case.
With a single case, it might cost $200,000 to bring the lawsuit even though the client only recovered $200,000.
With ten cases, it might cost $400,000 to bring the lawsuit, but it's now possible to recover $2 million.
With 100 cases, it might cost $1 million to bring the lawsuit, and the recovery might be $20 million.
The more clients a law firm or a collaborative group of law firms has, the better their position when it comes to bargaining with DePuy about how much money his clients should ultimately get. When the potential recovery is quite high, it's still possible for lawyers to stay in the game even though the company is willing to put in a large amount of money defending the case.
These aren't necessarily the numbers for the DePuy hip recall case. The damages we've seen have been widely varied, but they share a single common denominator: it will be easier to get everyone recompensed properly if everyone bands together in a single mass action suit. The more clients a legal partnership has, the better its position when it comes to bargaining with DePuy about how much money their clients should receive.
New Game: DePuy ASR XL Acetabular System
There are a great many lawyers out there billing themselves as a "hip recall lawyer" or a "faulty hip lawyer." We aren't those things. At Moriarty Leyendecker, we have a history of bringing mass action lawsuits against major corporations and winning. Usually, when a normal, everyday citizen brings a case against a huge corporation with a lot of money to spend on a lawsuit, he's going to lose.
We tip the scales. We gather together the people who have been harmed and we draw power from those numbers. Our firm's history, bringing and winning lawsuits against Shell Chemical, Prudential Bache, Tenet Healthcare, and National Medical Enterprises, shows that this is the most effective way to win cases when thousands were injured.
No company should get away with causing you serious harm simply because they have deeper pockets. If you have questions about your legal rights in the case against DePuy Orthopaedics, we're here to answer them. More than anything, we want to be sure the thousands of people who were harmed by the ASR XL Acetabular System have the legal and medical information they need to move forward.
Give us a call at 800-677-7095, or fill out our online form. We're here to help.