For more than 25 years, medical monitoring cases have been filed in West Virginia on behalf of healthy individuals seeking significant monetary damages for medical testing for diseases that may or may not manifest in the future. These cases are costly to defend, typically litigated over many years, and have extreme exposure for companies that become defendants.
A medical monitoring claim is one where a plaintiff (or a group of plaintiffs) alleges exposure to a hazardous substance at levels above those to which the general population is exposed. The claim further alleges that the exposure was due to the bad acts of the defendant and that such exposure places the plaintiff(s) at risk of contracting a disease or diseases in the future. The claim seeks monies to pay for medical monitoring for early detection of such diseases. The costs of such medical monitoring procedures can be significant.
Spilman attorneys have defended a variety of highly complex medical monitoring claims, including many class actions, for companies in high-stakes litigation. Medical monitoring cases can involve product liability; mining and other industrial sites; hydraulic fracturing; chemicals and substances used in the workplace; contamination to groundwater, drinking water or air; chemical exposure; or drugs and pharmaceuticals, among other targets.
Medical monitoring litigation typically involves experts in a wide variety of fields (e.g. toxicologists, hydrologists, geologists, epidemiologists, chemists, industrial hygienists, human factors and warnings specialists, or medical specialists, such as neurologists, neuropsychologists, oncologists, and reproductive specialists, among others). Spilman attorneys have deep experience in dealing with highly technical and scientific issues that come with involving these types of experts. We work effectively with them to convert complicated science into understandable facts for our clients, the judge and the jury.
Many states, particularly West Virginia, have seen an increase in mass tort claims in the past decade. Accordingly, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals created a separate judicial process, known as the Mass Litigation Panel (“MLP”), for handling mass litigation. The MLP process in West Virginia is unique and navigating its rules and procedures requires knowledge and experience that Spilman attorneys possess.
To manage the defense of medical monitoring cases, mass tort litigation and class actions, and to control client costs, we use the Early Case Assessment (“ECA”) model to identify and quantify the risks of trial versus settlement. The ECA is a living document, calling for constant evaluation, strategic decisions, and communication with the client as the case develops. When outside resources are required for electronic discovery, document collection, management and production, we call upon our network of trusted partner organizations to assist in serving client needs as effectively and efficiently as possible. Our success is measured by client objectives.