Mass tort litigations are complex and challenging cases involving multiple plaintiffs across counties, cities, or states. Mass torts hold significance in the legal world as they hold corporations accountable for their negligence and simultaneously claim justice for hundreds, if not thousands, of victims.

There are several mass tort litigations to look out for in 2023 involving new developments, large settlements, or important rulings that could shape the future of similar cases moving forward. From environmental contamination to product liability to defective medical devices, these are the mass tort litigations to look out for in 2023.

Camp Lejeune Water Contamination

One of the most significant lawsuits of last year continues into 2023. For over 30 years, service members, their families, and civilians living and working at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune were potentially exposed to contaminated drinking water. This water contained toxic chemicals such as trichloroethylene (TCE), perchloroethylene (PCE), benzene, and vinyl chloride, all linked to severe injuries such as various cancers, leukemia, and Parkinson’s disease. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act allows nearly one million victims to take legal action against the US government. Victims at Camp Lejeune during the contamination are now strewn across the country with claims ready to be filed this year and beyond.

3M Earplugs

This is one the largest multi-district litigations in the country, with nearly 260,000 plaintiffs suing 3M for allegedly providing defective earplugs to the U.S. military that failed to protect service members from hearing loss and tinnitus between 2003 and 2015. The first bellwether trial resulted in a $7.1 million verdict for the plaintiffs in April 2022, but the second trial ended in a mistrial due to juror misconduct in June of the same year. 3M has attempted to avoid the continuing proceedings by filing for bankruptcy, but U.S. District Judge M. Casey Rodgers is fighting to resume the litigation.

NEC Baby Formula

NEC, or necrotizing enterocolitis, is a severe gastrointestinal disease primarily affecting premature infants and can cause tissue death, infection, and sepsis. The disease was linked to bovine milk-based baby formulas, such as Similac and Enfamil, which may disrupt infants’ sensitive immune and digestive systems. Lawsuits were filed against manufacturers Abbott Laboratories and Mead Johnson Nutrition, alleging they failed to warn consumers and health professionals about the increased risk of NEC in their products.

Talcum Powder

Talcum powder is a common product used in hygiene and cosmetic products. It comes from talc, a mineral that can be contaminated with the known carcinogen asbestos, as both are mined in similar areas. Thousands of people have sued manufacturers such as Johnson & Johnson for causing ovarian cancer, mesothelioma, and other diseases through asbestos exposure in their products. Plaintiffs allege they knew about the contamination and failed to warn consumers about the risks. Lawsuits are underway, and Johnson & Johnson has agreed to pay $8.9 billion to tens of thousands of claimants as of April 2023.

AFFF Fire Foam

Aqueous film-forming foam, or AFFF, is used to extinguish fires caused by flammable liquids or gases, such as jet fuel and petroleum. AFFF contains synthetic chemicals known as per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS. These chemicals are not biodegradable and can build up in the environment and the body, earning them the nickname “forever chemicals.” PFAS exposure has been linked to several injuries and various cancers, such as kidney, pancreatic, prostate, and testicular cancer. Firefighters and workers exposed to AFFF may be eligible to file a mass tort claim against the manufacturers of AFFF, such as 3M, Tyco, Dupont, and others. As of May 2023, there are over 4,000 plaintiffs involved in this litigation.

Hair Relaxers

Hair relaxers are popular cosmetic products mainly used by African American women that straightens curly hair. They achieve this through endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) such as phthalates that interfere with hormone production, leading to several uterine and ovarian cancers. Studies have been conducted for decades, with one by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found women who used hair relaxers more than four times per year had a 150% increase in uterine and ovarian cancers. Lawsuits were filed soon after the study’s publication. Despite the litigation’s current infancy and low-risk investment for attorneys, L’Oreal, Revlon, and Strength of Nature are already bracing for further litigation.

Hernia Mesh

When organs or tissue bulges through weak spots in the abdominal wall and creates a hernia, hernia mesh is used to repair the body. However, if the mesh is defective, it can become loose within the body, leading to various injuries, including infection, abdominal pain, adhesion to other organs, intestinal blockage, perforation, mesh migration, and hernia recurrence. Thousands of lawsuits have been filed against manufacturers of hernia mesh Atrium Medical Corporation, C.R. Bard, and Ethicon on the grounds they sold defective devices to consumers. In August 2022, a jury ruled a subsidiary of C.R. Bard to pay $4.8 million to a Hawaiian man who claimed he suffered complications from the company’s mesh implant. The third bellwether trial is scheduled for October 18, 2023.

The Importance of Mass Torts

Mass tort litigations are both an important aspect of growing your law firm’s practice and helping people across the country pursue justice. They offer litigators the opportunity to build their client base and make a difference in thousands of lives. By staying vigilant on the latest legal proceedings and the most prominent developing cases, attorneys can hone their skills, help more people, and see greater success.

What Broughton Partners Can Do For You

Now that you know the most significant mass torts for 2023, you need to start generating marketing campaigns to grab that audience and direct them to your law firm. Broughton Partners is here to do all the work while you reap the rewards.

We can help your law firm gain more clients and build better connections between claimants, referral firms, and you. With various consumer-facing brands, we reach out to potential claimants across television, radio, social media, and other advertising avenues. These claimants contact our in-house 24/7 call center and are screened for eligibility using criteria created with leading litigators. These pre-qualified retainers are then delivered to your firm without any additional work on your part.

This process lets attorneys help more people without adding to their workload and gives claimants more power to find necessary legal aid. If you want to know more, call us at (800) 949-8904 or complete our online contact form today.