Plaintiff Fact Sheet: A Precious Key

 
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Plaintiff Fact Sheets

Attorneys and law firms handling mass tort litigation know very well how intense and time-consuming the nature of such litigation can be. Most mass tort litigation occurs in multidistrict litigation (MDL) primarily to better manage the cases as they often involve hundreds (if not thousands) of people injured by the same drug/device or incident.

To organize and manage this large number of civil cases, each of which is complex while also having some commonalities with the others the judicial system has adopted the MDL process. This allows all the cases to be handled in a single district court and coordinated and consolidated managed by a single judge.

Plaintiff Fact Sheet - A Basic Understanding

A Plaintiff Fact Sheet (PFS) provision in a case management order is a form to be filled by every plaintiff, whether a part of the current MDL or by future plaintiffs that join the MDL. It covers answers to defense interrogatory questions and also requires each plaintiff to furnish the necessary and relevant medical records within a stipulated time frame. The information usually encompasses details about educational, medical, employment, general, family and insurance. For MDLs, along with the basic information, detailed information about the usage and injury linked to the drug/device in question is required to be provided which is covered under the “Lone Pine’’ provision in the case management order.

Plaintiff Fact Sheet- A Comprehensive Perspective

Once an MDL has been formed, the discovery process begins with the focus on gathering information about the plaintiff’s claims. Fact sheets are used as a tool to discover facts at both the plaintiff’s and defendant's ends. Collecting facts is the most crucial stage as it can either lead to the acceptance of the case or its dismissal. This requires each party to collect all relevant information. Filling in details in the plaintiff fact sheet (PFS) may seem as a lengthy and tedious task and in some cases it may seem that the information required to be filled in is irrelevant and extraneous, but it is crucial to judge the relative strengths and weaknesses of each plaintiff's respective claim.

Filling details of PFS is very important as it gives a chance to gather information for early case assessment to the defendants; at the same time it initiates the process that filters the number of cases to be subjected to fuller case-specific fact discovery and expert discovery, leading further to the formation of a pool of cases for initial trials, if the case management process includes bellwether trials. This saves time and resources of the court. However, it is a complicated task to complete a PFS with accurate and comprehensive information and back it up with required documented proofs.

Plaintiff Fact Sheet - A Time Sensitive Process

Once an attorney has completed the “client intake” formality for a mass tort claim, the client is provided with the matter specific PFS form. The eligibility of the plaintiff’s case is determined from the information provided in the PFS.

As PFS details are filled in, weaknesses may be exposed that can be fixed. It further sets up the case for ease of settlement negotiation and to avoid any delay that can occur with demand for additional information by the defendants.

Submission of an accurately and thoroughly completed PFS form at court before the stipulated deadline is a mandate.

Plaintiff Fact Sheet - MDL- A Versatile Management

MDL Centrality, an online-based website, is playing a crucial role in reducing the paperwork and saving a substantial amount of time in this process. The plaintiff can fill in the data at any given time and also can keep updating the information as and when medical records or other proofs become available. Deficiency notifications coming from MDL with specified deadlines helps managing any discrepancies by uploading required documents or by providing satisfying responses. MDL is also an easy tracking tool for law firms when they are handling a large volume of cases.

Currently, Taxotere PFS, Xarelto PFS, TRT PFS, IVC Filters PFS are available, and lawyers having potential cases are busy updating these and their specific MDL websites. An expert medical review of the medical records is essential to fill in the PFS, it also helps to validate the information filled in by the client. A calling service backs up the PFS management as a direct communication to clear major hurdles and ensures that the information is valid.

Effective Case Management and Electronic Case Filing System (CM/ECF), now utilized by all federal district courts and the MDL Panel, has resulted in streamlining the administration of these cases. A concise and accurate summarization, reporting and analyzation can lead to the case moving ahead and meeting deadlines. If deadlines are rigorously enforced by the court and followed by both the parties, vital information can be collected at a very early stage giving a head start to the ensuing events.

This article was submitted by Neural IT. Neural IT provides cost effective and timely medical reviews for screening potential mass tort cases. For more information, please visit www.neuralit.com. You may email them at [email protected] or call +1-844-NIT-TEAM (648-8326).

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