In February 2017, a bill was introduced into the U. S. House of Representatives that could directly impact the ability of Americans to bring cases for injuries caused by defective drugs, medical devices, or other widely sold consumer products.
What It Is
This bill, known as H.R. 985, seeks to curtail the rights of all Americans to seek redress in our court system through class actions or multidistrict litigation efforts, which are often the only viable options for injured patients and consumers to level the playing field and seek compensation when they have been harmed by large corporations.
Multidistrict litigation (also known as an “MDL”) is the primary manner in which cases involving dangerous drugs, medical devices, environmental spills, airline crashes, defective automobiles, or other widely used products that have caused harm are prosecuted in our court system
What it Does
If the MDL process is not available in our court system, the costs of prosecuting a single case might outweigh the amount to be recovered, and, as a result, injured patients, will be unable to pursue a claim when they have been injured or their lives taken by the negligence of others.
The result of this, very simply, is that large corporations who have caused harm will essentially be given immunity, there will be no incentive for them to make safer products, and the tremendous losses suffered by injured plaintiffs may never be compensated.
What it’s Not
This bill is not about “frivolous lawsuits.” This bill is about the cases of thousands of injured patients who have legitimate claims against drug and medical device manufacturers who made defective products and failed to disclose risks to patients and the injuries that have been suffered as a result. This bill seeks to have retroactive application, which means that, if passed, it could eliminate cases that have already been filed and pending in an MDL for years.
What’s Being Done
Lawyers affiliated with Attorney Group are working through national trial lawyers’ organizations along with a number of non-partisan consumer and patient rights and constitutional organizations to try to fight this bill in Congress. They are reaching out directly to members of Congress who are also appalled about this attack on injured people’s rights and limitation of access to our court system, but that is just not enough in the current political climate to win this battle.
What You Can Do
If you have been injured by a drug, medical device, or other defective product, and since your personal rights could be taken away by this bill and others that are likely to be filed in the coming months, Attorney Group asks you to consider contacting members of Congress directly to:
- Tell them your story,
- Tell how you and your family have been impacted by a defective product, and
- What would happen if that manufacturer were granted immunity for its negligence and intentional acts that have caused so many injuries.
We urge you to ask your representatives in Congress to stand up for you and others like you.
You can obtain information about your member of Congress and their contact information at www.congress.gov. Millions of dollars have been spent by drug and medical device manufacturers to encourage these anti-patient bills, but these lawmakers must still listen to the people that they haves vowed to serve, including you.
Take Action Now – Protect Your Rights
Please call, write, and/or email them, as they are sensitive to the concerns of their constituents and need to know the devastating impact of granting further immunity to those who have injured hundreds of thousands of patients. According to congressional staffers, phone calls are the most effective means of getting a congressperson’s attention.
Access to our court system is a fundamental right that should be available to all, irrespective of their political party affiliation or whether they are rich or poor. Take action now to protect your rights and the rights of others!