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Product Liability Litigation: The Basics of Case Consolidation

We are all too familiar with the mass of car manufacturing recalls that seemed to pile up at the end of 2014. With Takata’s airbag recall litigation taking the forefront after recalling over two million vehicles and contributing to the deaths of at least five Florida natives, we all have a fair cause for concern. When a large number of people are affected by a defective product in a similar manner, courts may be inclined to “consolidate,” helping to streamline litigation without adversely affecting the outcome.

Florida Takata Consolidation

Though cases can be consolidated at both the federal and state level, many large-scale lawsuits are brought at the federal level. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure govern procedures for federal court filings and litigation. Rule 42 directly addresses consolidation, providing the parameters for when consolidation may be appropriate. Just because cases can be consolidated does not always mean that they will be consolidated. This, like much of litigation, is left up to the court’s discretion.

There are currently more than eighty cases that have been consolidated into a Federal Court in Florida for the pending Takata legislation. Though each individual in a large case such as this may have suffered different injuries of varying severity, the cases are consolidated to make it easier to obtain information. When a civil case is filed, the parties have an opportunity to make inquiries to the opposing side in a process called discovery. The process of discovery lets each side ask the other questions, request production of documents, and admit or deny admissions of fact. There is also an opportunity for each side to take the depositions of the other parties involved. Depositions are sworn oral statements that are used as a fact-finding tool in civil matters.

In a case where so many individuals were affected by wrongdoing such as an automotive product liability case, it is much easier and cost-effective to have the information asked for and relayed once, as opposed to separately for every single matter. The information can then be applied to all relevant parties.

Miami, Florida Product Liability Lawyers

Product liability litigation expands far beyond car manufacturing defects. Manufacturers, designers, distributors, and even retailers have an obligation to consumers to make products safe and usable. When a company fails to live up to this standard, the company may be held responsible for injury that is causes to its consumers. Regardless of whether you are involved in a large-scale lawsuit or one that caused individual injury, you may be entitled to legal compensation for your injuries. At Alan Goldfarb, P.A., we understand how emotional and financially burdensome it can be dealing with the aftermath of an injury. Our knowledgeable Miami product liability attorneys will assess every possible avenue for monetary recovery, whether it be through a consolidated lawsuit in federal court, or an individual lawsuit filed at the state level. Regardless of your unique circumstances, feel free to contact us to learn more about your legal rights.

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