Most Active Class Action Mass Torts in 2024

Our firm’s national mass tort lawyers attorneys continuously monitor and track events in the various class action MDLs pending in the federal courts (MDL Docket #s). We track the volume of new cases being filed or transferred into each MDL every month, the trends or patterns in new case filings, and the status of bellwether trials, discovery, and other proceedings. And, of course, we track mass tort settlement amounts.

With a new year, we are starting to get a clearer picture of what we can expect in 2024 from the various mass tort MDLs, including those ready to grow and those ready to settle.

This post examines the hottest, biggest, and most compelling mass torts in 2024. If you click the individual links, we also project these settlement amounts.

The Biggest Class Action MDLs in 2024

The list of the biggest mass tort MDLs (by number of pending cases or claims) in 2024 will remain the same as last year, with the three mass torts below overshadowing the rest.

#1 Camp Lejeune Lawsuit

Yes, it is technically not an MDL class action. But Camp Lejeune dominated the mass tort legal landscape in 2023, and it looks like 2024 will be very similar. The Eastern District of North Carolina has created a mini-MDL, which will be the epicenter of the mass tort world in 2024.

In May 2024, over 220,000 administratively filed cases are under the CLJA. (There have been only 36 settlements.)   So it is more than half the size of the 3M lawsuit. But in terms of expected settlement amounts, nothing compares to Camp Lejeune. Our lawyers expect that 2024 will be a year of significant settlements in the Camp Lejeune litigation, although the failure of the CLJA launched in early settlement program last September underscores the need for an overhaul of this litigation.

The best cases have a good chance at settlements—albeit low offers—and you saw that with the most recent settlement offer from the government. But there will also be many cases where there is a huge fight over general causation for specific types of cancer. So this litigation will drag on for years for many victims.

#2 Talcum Powder Lawsuit

The second biggest class action MDL is still the talcum powder class action against Johnson & Johnson. These cases allege that chronic exposure to talc in products such as baby powder caused cancer. As of January 2024, there are 50,000 pending cases in the talc class action MDL.

The reality of this litigation is that J&J wants to pay $9 million to resolve the cases. The per-person settlement amounts at this number is not enough to settle these lawsuits. Everyone realizes this, including J&J.  So they need to put more money into the pot to convince enough plaintiffs to opt into a global settlement.

In the meantime, after taking an $18.9 million verdict in one case this year, J&J is settling cases up for trial, hoping for some breathing room to craft a workable settlement. I’m confident that J&J will never take another mesotheloma talc powder verdict. It has learned the hard way in not winning meso cases.

The risk in trying to get every last drop out of J&J to maximize talc settlement amounts is that J&J will try its third bankruptcy gambit. It will fail, but it has the potential to slow things down. These victims have had enough, and they at least want a settlement offer to make a choice.

A $9 billion talc powder settlement was announced in May 2024. Whether the plaintiff will approve of this settlement is still a very open question.

#3 C.R. Bard Hernia Mesh Lawsuit

The C.R. Bard Hernia Mesh MDL is the largest of several mass tort MDLs involving defective hernia mesh patches made by various companies. As of January 2024, there were over 20,000 plaintiffs with pending cases in the C.R. Bard Hernia Mesh MDL. Hundreds of new hernia mesh lawsuits have been transferred into this MDL over the last six months, making it one of the more active mass torts.

These cases will settle this year. We are just waiting for an official announcement.

#4: CPAP Recall Lawsuit

In 2021, Philips recalled millions of CPAP and BiPAP devices after discovering that users were inhaling toxic foam particles released by the devices. These lawsuits settled in May 2024.

MDLs to Watch

#1 Paraquat Parkinson’s Lawsuit

The Paraquat class action MDL was one of the hottest mass torts in 2023 in terms of growth, and 2024 is slowing but we are still seeing new cases.  The Paraquat cases allege that chronic exposure to this industrial herbicide causes Parkinson’s disease. The litigation is small, but the size of the injury—Parkinson’s disease is truly awful—is great.

There are 5,500 pending cases in the Paraquat MDL. The Paraquat cases are strong, and a trial is coming up assuming, as we do, that the judge allows these cases to move forward (plaintiffs’ lawyers need more and better experts). So a Paraquat settlement could be on the horizon assuming the judge decides the science linking Parkinson’s and Paraquat is sufficient. It is hard to imagine that the defendants would let one of these cases go to trial.

Parkinson’s disease is a brutal condition. So the settlement payouts in these cases could be very high. I do not think the defendants will let these cases go to trial. So if the defendants do not get out on Daubert – and all indications are they will not – my guess is that these cases will settle before the end of the year. How will they settle? I think the defendants will go the Roundup route and settle with individual plaintiffs’ law firms. But that is pure speculation.

#2 Paragard IUD Lawsuit

The Paragard lawsuits allege that the Paragard IUD device had a design defect that caused it to fracture during removal, leaving pieces inside the body. As of May 2024, the Paragard class action MDL has a little over  2,650 pending cases.

The growth trend in the Paragard MDL has continued very reliably so far in 2024. Moreover, adverse medical device event reporting data from the FDA suggests that the number of fractures during the removal of the Paragard device remains very high.

The litigation is moving slowly so we do not expect settlements anytime soon. However, the first round of bellwether trials will not begin until 2025.

#3 Tepezza Hearing Loss Lawsuit

Tepezza is a new prescription drug that is taken in a series of injections to treat thyroid eye disease (TED). Soon after Tepezza was released on the U.S. market, reports started coming back that a high percentage of patients who received Tepezza injections were suffering permanent hearing loss.

Additional scientific research eventually established that the hearing damage was a side effect of Tepezza and it was often permanent. Moreover, the manufacturer of Tepezza failed to disclose the true risk of this side effect.

Anyone who suffered permanent hearing loss or tinnitus (ringing in the ears) after receiving Tepezza injections may be eligible to file a lawsuit and get financial compensation. A growing number of Tepezza lawsuits have been filed across the country, and the Tepezza lawsuits in federal courts have recently been consolidated into a new class action MDL.

#4 Bard PowerPort Lawsuit

The Bard PowerPort is a port catheter medical device that is implanted under a patient’s skin to give doctors direct access to veins for regular and convenient attachment to catheters for fluid and medication delivery intravenously. Design and manufacturing flaws in the Bard PowerPort have made this device highly prone to fracture and/or migrate after being implanted. These events usually result in serious complications and injuries including infection and internal vascular damage.

Patients who received a Bard PowerPort implant device and suffered serious injuries when the PowerPort fractured or migrated after implantation can file a product liability lawsuit and seek compensation. A growing volume of Bard PowerPort lawsuits have already been filed in federal courts around the U.S.

In August 2023, a new Bard PowerPort class action MDL was created when the cases were consolidated before a single judge. This could potentially be one of the next big mass tort MDLs so we will be keeping a close eye on things.

This is not huge litigation – we have 187 filed lawsuits in May 2024. But lawyers really like these cases. We love these cases and we wish we had more of them.

#5 Roundup Cancer Lawsuit

Roundup was once the most popular consumer weedkiller product on the market. But recent evidence linking the chemical in Roundup (glyphosate) to cancer prompted a flood of Roundup product liability lawsuits. After a series of massive verdicts in 2018-2019, Monsanto (Bayer) started settling large blocks of cases.

Bayer won 10 in a row with the remaining Roundup lawsuits. Smoke and mirrors were involved. Bayer settled the best cases and let the weaker cases go to trial. One case was so awful that it was dismissed in the middle of the trial.

But Bayer got overconfident. It started believing its own press clipping and forgot its won-loss record was because they were scheduling the weakest cases for trial. Then, it lost five cases in a row, losing billions in the process. Now, it has its back against the wall with a healthy trial schedule still ahead for the rest of 2024. I think Bayer will settle these cases in 2024, and it will be for a lot more than they could have settled them for in 2023.

#6 Social Media Addiction Lawsuit

This MDL consolidates numerous lawsuits alleging that companies like Meta (operating Facebook and Instagram), ByteDance (TikTok), Google (YouTube), and Snap (Snapchat) have designed addictive algorithms. These algorithms are claimed to keep users, especially youths, engaged for unhealthy lengths of time, leading to mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and suicidal ideation.

In January 2023, these social media addiction lawsuits were merged into an MDL presided over by Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in the Northern District of California. As of May 2024, the MDL comprises over 450 lawsuits.

The core of these lawsuits is the assertion that social media platforms deliberately exploit the vulnerability of users through addictive features that result in significant harm. The major platforms involved are currently facing these allegations are trying to hide behind the skirt of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and the First Amendment rights. But so far, that has not proved to be the magic elixir defense they hoped.

Currently, the MDL is still in the pre-trial phase, focusing on addressing motions to dismiss, and no settlements or jury verdicts have been reached. This social media addiction litigation is expected to grow in 2024.

#7 Valsartan Lawsuits

Over 1,000 Valsartan lawsuits have been pending in a class action MDL for several years now. The lawsuits allege that certain batches of the drug were contaminated with NDMA (a known carcinogen) during the manufacturing process. The plaintiffs are seeking damages for injuries including liver damage and gastric cancer.

With a likely trial date in 2024, this litigation may start gettting a lot more attention this year.

Class Actions Most Likely to Settle in 2024

Based on what our lawyers have been hearing, one mass tort MDL seems most likely to be resolved with global settlements in 2024.

#1: AFFF Firefighting Foam Lawsuit

The AFFF firefighting foam lawsuits allege that exposure to so-called forever chemicals in AFFF firefighting foam (used to put out large fires) caused countless firefighters and military veterans to develop cancer. There are now more than 8,000 AFFF cancer lawsuits pending in the firefighting foam class action as of November 2023.

There is widespread speculation that a global settlement deal could be in the works for the AFFF lawsuits. The defendants have already settled most cases brought by municipalities. So a global AFFF settlement makes sense and it could happen in 2024. We think these are really strong cases.

Class Actions Ready to Grow in 2024

The class action MDLs in this section are those that are ready to post explosive growth as 2024 continues because of the size of the potential plaintiff field or other circumstances.

#1: Hair Relaxer Lawsuit

In October of 2022, a groundbreaking study from NIH was published showing that regular use of chemical hair relaxer products could significantly increase the risk of uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, and other conditions such as endometriosis and uterine fibroids. This immediately prompted a wave of hair relaxer cancer lawsuits that were promptly consolidated into a new class action MDL.

The size of the potential plaintiff field for the hair relaxer class action litigation is massive. Millions of African American women in the U.S. use hair relaxers on a regular basis their entire adult lives. That means that almost every black woman diagnosed with uterine or ovarian cancer is a potential plaintiff.

Even after just a few months, this litigation has already started to show signs of rapid growth this year. In May 2024, we have nearly 8,500 filed lawsuits.

(We have this under “will grow in 2024” but that prediction is a little dated in May 2024. Our lawyers are still getting cases but it is not like it was.)

#2 Hernia Mesh Lawsuit (non-Bard)

A hernia mesh is a small screen-like implant that is used to reinforce muscle and tissue after a hernia repair surgery. A number of different permanent hernia mesh products have design flaws related to the material they are made out of that has caused them to malfunction resulting in post-implantation complications and injuries.

This has led to a large wave of hernia mesh lawsuits that have been consolidated into several different class action MDLs. The biggest hernia mesh MDL is that involving claims against medical device company C.R. Bard. This MDL is in the Southern District of Ohio and it has over 20,000 pending cases that we talk about above. But there are many smaller MDLs that may grow – and hopefully, settle quickly – especially when the Bard cases finally settle to help set a settlement benchmark.

#3 Uber Driver Sex Abuse Lawsuit

A growing number of lawsuits are being filed alleging that Uber drivers sexually assaulted passengers. The lawsuits are being filed against Uber for alleging being negligent in its screening and monitoring of its drivers and for ignoring complaints and red flags. The Uber driver sex abuse lawsuits have been consolidated into an MDL in the Northern District of California.

#4 One Wheel Lawsuit

The OneWheel lawsuits are a unicorn. The litigation is both new and likely to settle in 2024.

The self-balancing electric skateboard, the Onewheel, is at the center of a mounting number of lawsuits, which have culminated in the creation of an MDL to address allegations of design defects and safety shortcomings. These lawsuits have raised serious concerns about the Onewheel and Onewheel+ XR models, which are reportedly prone to sudden stops or shutdowns at speed. This malfunction can lead to what is termed a “nosedive,” causing riders to lose balance and be propelled forward, resulting in severe injuries such as bone fractures, head trauma, and spinal cord damage.

The legal claims assert that these critical issues stem from inherent defects in the design and manufacturing of the Onewheel. Additionally, plaintiffs accuse Future Motion, the manufacturer, of not providing sufficient warnings about the risk of nosedives, thus failing to inform consumers adequately about the potential dangers of using their product.

In September 2023, to better manage these lawsuits, they were consolidated into an MDL in a California federal court. The MDL is still in its early phases,. But some cases have settled already and settlement talks continue. Future Motion wants this litigation to end sooner rather than later.

New Class Action MDLs

Below are two new mass torts that are on their way to becoming class actions and being consolidated into MDLs. We don’t have MDLs for either of these yet, but that should happen within the next few months.

Suboxone Tooth Decay Lawsuit

Suboxone is a drug that is used to treat opioid addiction and dependency. Suboxone is administered in a sublingual (under the tongue) insert that dissolves in the mouth.

Unfortunately, Suboxone causes dry mouth and severe tooth decay. Although the drug’s manufacturers were well aware of this fact for years, they refused to include a warning about tooth decay on the drug’s product label.

It was only after the FDA issued a public safety warning about Suboxone tooth decay that a warning label was added. Now thousands of people who used the drug and suffered tooth decay or dental injuries are expected to file Suboxone tooth decay lawsuits.

There is now an MDL class action lawsuit. This will be really big litigation.

Ozempic Gallbladder Lawsuit

Ozempic is a very popular diabetes drug, and recently it has been widely used as a weight loss drug. Recent evidence has shown, however, that using Ozempic at high doses (which is common for weight loss) can cause serious problems with the gallbladder, including gallstones and gallbladder disease. Individuals who used Ozempic and suffered gallbladder injuries are now filing Ozempic lawsuits against the drug.

This will be litigation, and there will be plaintiffs who have a lot of damages. But there will also be many more minor injury cases where the victim had real complications, but only for a limited period of time, and they are perfectly fine now. So, putting a settlement amount on those cases will be a challenge.

There is one wild card here that will drive settlement payouts in the plaintiffs’ favor. These companies are printing money with these new obesity-fighting drugs. This litigation is a distraction they will want to rid themselves of as soon as feasible.

Heavy Metal Baby Food Lawsuit

A new toxic baby food MDL has been established in 2924, consolidating lawsuits against major baby food manufacturers in the United States.

The consolidated lawsuits allege that certain baby food products contain unsafe levels of heavy metals, such as arsenic, lead, and mercury. Saying “allege” is understating the case. These products clearly contain heavy metals that pose significant health risks, potentially causing developmental issues in infants and children, including conditions like autism and ADHD. The defendants in this MDL include prominent companies such as Gerber, Beech-Nut, Walmart, and Campbell Soup Company.

In April 2024, all related federal lawsuits were merged into a single case, which is being overseen by Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley in the Northern District of California. While it is still too early to predict the outcome of this litigation, baby food lawyers are growing bullish on it.

MDLs On Life Support

Tylenol Autism

There was a centralized class action lawsuit in New York targeting Tylenol that consolidated all federal acetaminophen-related cases. The gist of these lawsuits is that there is a link between Tylenol and other acetaminophen products and disorders like Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (“ADHD”) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (“Autism”). The science supporting this link was thought to be strong.

One person disagreed with that opinion. She was the only person that matters. The MDL judge dismissed all 500 cases in the MDL. Still, there are hundreds of thousands more and lawyers will begin filing Tylenol lawsuits in state courts around the country.

So life support is probably too strong of a term and the judge is doing another Daubert hearing for a new expert. But these are tough cases.

Dockets for Class Action MDLs

Roundup N.D. Cal. 16-md-2741
Talcum Powder D. New Jersey 3:16-md-02738
Paraquat S.D. Illinois 3:21-md-3004
3M Earplugs N.D. Florida 3:19-md-2885
AFFF D. South Carolina 2:18-mn-2873
Zantac S.D. Florida 20-md-2924
Elmiron D. New Jersey 2:20-md-2973
CPAP W.D. Pennsylvania 2:21-mc-1230
Paragard IUD N.D. Georgia 1:20-md-2974
Acetaminophen SDNY 1:22-md-03043
Gardasil W.D. North Carolina 3:22-md-03036
Exactech E.D. New York 1:22-md-03044
Hair Relaxer N.D. Illinois 1:23-cv-00818
NEC Formula N.D. Illinois 1:22-cv-00071
Hernia Mesh (Bard) S.D. Ohio 2:18-md-2846
Camp Lejeune E.D. North Carolina 7:23-cv-00897
Tepezza N.D. Illinois 1:23-cv-03568
Bard PowerPort D. Arizona 2:23-md-03081
Suboxone Tooth Decay N.D. Ohio 1:24-md-03092
Ozempic E.D. Pa. 2:24-md-03094
Social Media Addiction N.D. Cal. 4:22-md-03047
Uber Sex Assault N.D. Cal. 3:23-md-03084
OneWheel Injury N.D. Cal. 5:23-md-03087
Toxic Baby Food N.D. Cal. 3:24-md-3101
Valsartan D. New Jersey 1:19-md-02875

Largest MDL in March 2024

Location Judge MDL Number Description Case Count (FLN) Case Count (NJ)
FLN M. Casey Rodgers (U.S. District Judge) MDL-2885 IN RE: 3M Combat Arms Earplug Products Liability Litigation (settling) 276,568 391,365
NJ Michael A. Shipp (U.S. District Judge) MDL-2738 IN RE: Johnson & Johnson Talcum Powder Products Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation 53,796 54,923
OHS Edmund A. Sargus, Jr (U.S. District Judge) MDL-2846 IN RE: Davol, Inc./C.R. Bard, Inc., Polypropylene Hernia Mesh Products Liability Litigation 21,262 22,020
FLS Robin L. Rosenberg (U.S. District Judge) MDL-2924 IN RE: Zantac (Ranitidine) (cases dismissed pending appeal) 14,392 14,998
NJ Claire C. Cecchi (U.S. District Judge) MDL-2789 IN RE: Proton-Pump Inhibitor (PPI) (No. II) 12,819 18,668
LAE Jane Triche Milazzo (U.S. District Judge) MDL-2740 IN RE: Taxotere (Docetaxel) 9,600 15,587
ILN Mary M. Rowland (U.S. District Judge) MDL-3060 IN RE: Hair Relaxer Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation 8,334 8,537
INS Richard L. Young (U.S. District Judge) MDL-2570 IN RE: Cook Medical, Inc., IVC Filters Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation 7,693 11,352
SC Richard M. Gergel (U.S. District Judge) MDL-2873 IN RE: Aqueous Film-Forming Foams Products (AFFF and PFAS) 7,170 7,367
MN Joan N. Ericksen (Sr. District Judge) MDL-2666 IN RE: Bair Hugger Forced Air Warming Devices 6,248 7,160
ILS Nancy J. Rosenstengel (Chief Judge, USDC) MDL-3004 IN RE: Paraquat 5,318 5,984
CAN William H. Orrick, III (U.S. District Judge) MDL-2913 IN RE: Juul Labs, Inc., Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation 5,108 7,068
CA Vince Chhabria (U.S. District Judge) MDL-2741 IN RE: Roundup Products Liability Litigation 4,253 4,800
OHN Dan A. Polster (Sr. District Judge) MDL-2804 IN RE: National Prescription Opiate Litigation 3,056 3,227
NH Landya B. McCafferty (Chief Judge, USDC) MDL-2753 IN RE: Atrium Medical Corp. C-Qur Mesh 2,697 3,547
GAN Leigh Martin May (U.S. District Judge) MDL-2974 IN RE: Paragard IUD 2,570 2,647
NJ Brian R. Martinotti (U.S. District Judge) MDL-2973 IN RE: Elmiron (Pentosan Polysulfate Sodium) 1,865 1,982
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