How Experts Can Help to Identify Your Bellwether

Taking on a mass tort matter can be a high-risk, high reward legal feat.

Expert Institute

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— Updated on May 19, 2022

How Experts Can Help to Identify Your Bellwether

On one hand, you have the opportunity to stand up to mammoth manufacturers. You could secure justice for a class of injured consumers. On the other hand, you’re facing down a goliath. This giant likely has the legal team to match. Plus, there are potentially thousands of livelihoods hinging on your litigation success.

But with the right expert support, the mass tort reward is well worth the risk. Perhaps you’re an attorney appointed to the plaintiff steering committee or working with an individual plaintiff on case-specific matters. In any role, consulting the right expertise can enhance your litigation efforts at each stage of the mass tort process.

Here, we’re exploring how expert consultation can refine your preliminary research into dangerous products, client intake procedures, and plaintiff ranking—all with the goal of finding your most meritorious bellwether case.

Sourcing the Right Research

Preparing a new case will always begin with extensive research, and mass torts are no exception. But given the volume of case files and the specificity that defines an MDL, the case research also needs specialized qualifications. Mass torts often deal with medical devices or defective drugs. As such, collecting the most impactful research requires having someone with medical knowledge on your side. This is not just for the ease of deciphering medical terminology. Rather, it’s for access to medical journals and publications, research, and the pulse of the medical community. Medical experts are also equipped to interpret and explain the available data. An expert with extensive medical knowledge will be able to highlight where there are abnormal findings or statistically significant patient results. They can help guide your path towards establishing causation.

A direct line to the medical industry is especially valuable when you’re dealing with a new drug side effect or novel device injury. The right medical expert can compile the full and most relevant story on the device or drug at issue. This expert will be the most trusted source for sourcing and analyzing any emerging research. Medical experts can also help to lay out your plan of attack for scrutinizing a towering stack of plaintiff medical records. With the right research in hand, you’ve already taken a huge step in defining the most pertinent intake criteria as you build your case.

Identifying Your Intake Criteria

The next step towards landing on your bellwether is tackling plaintiffs’ medical records. This can be a time-consuming and tedious process, especially for someone without a medical background. Mass tort record reviews can become an aimless process without clearly defined intake criteria. By consulting a medical expert, you can easily zero in on any client’s eligibility for a mass tort matter with the aid of an intake rubric.

An intake rubric outlines the most critical factors to consider when assessing a plaintiff’s injuries and detecting their risk factors Your consulting expert physician is able to build out this bespoke criteria and highlight only the most salient factors to consider as you sift through all your client medical files. Assessing client eligibility becomes an efficient and cost-effective process with an intake assist from a highly qualified medical expert.

Ranking the Plaintiff Cases

With an intake strategy in place, it’s much easier to make educated decisions about how to rank a range of cases and ultimately identify your bellwether. Strong record reviews yield an organized, data-rich summary of your entire class of plaintiffs. Along with input from an industry expert, you can analyze the records of clients with similar presentations.

From here, the task of ranking the strength of the causal relationships between several clients’ product use and health outcome becomes a much more streamlined, data-oriented process. With medical expertise on your side, you’ll also be privy to any underlying patterns or trends that emerge from your plaintiff data set and how this compares with industry research. This analysis will allow you to make the most informed and logical decisions as you narrow down to your bellwether plaintiff.

Understanding the Metrics of a Bellwether

Settling on a bellwether, of course, sets the stage for how the larger MDL will fare. It’s indicative of your strategy’s strength on a much larger scale. Also, you have a better idea of how a judge and jury will react to the case’s argument structure. It’s for these reasons that settling on the bellwether must be carefully considered and backed up by expert-level methodology and reasoning.

A methodical, metric-driven approach will help you select your bellwether plaintiff. Expert advice, intake regulation, and plaintiff ranking guidance ensure you’ll select the most representative bellwether for the MDL as a whole.

Should the bellwether not result in your favor, you’ve already developed an empirical structure to your case ranking. Additionally, You’re poised to easily pivot your argument structure and regroup based on the data you’ve collected from the entire class of plaintiffs. Through this expertly crafted mass tort foundation, you can see what worked, what didn’t, and what the data says to try next.

Streamlining the Process

Sourcing experts to consult as you grind through the research, intake, and ranking stages can feel like a legal feat in itself. For even the most experienced mass tort attorneys, finding qualified experts to assist in case preparations can be grueling. Meanwhile, you must ensure you’ve completed due diligence for an entire plaintiff class. But securing this expert support creates your most solid base. From here, you’re primed to take on the manufacturers and corporations that have caused widespread damages.

See How Our Team Can Help

With assistance from Expert Institute, you’re never on your own to find the most qualified expertise to bolster MDL preparations. Mass Tort Accelerator connects you with the right experts to give your case a robust runway towards mass tort success. Our team is on-call for support from research through to bellwether selection stages. You can commission custom research reports with the critical intel and interpretation on the drug or device in question. You can also receive a bespoke intake rubric to assess client eligibility. Or, our team of physicians can conduct comprehensive record reviews for all your prospective clients in a particular matter. Our medical experts will also help guide you to the most meritorious bellwether. This, of course, is with the data and literature to back it up.

Expert Institute’s Mass Tort Accelerator will help you refine your approach to mass tort client intakes. Additionally, our team will help you sharpen your litigation tools. With our support, you’ll be the best possible legal advocate for your clients, no matter the scale. Get in touch with our team to learn more.

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