chevron-down Created with Sketch Beta.
October 25, 2022 Book Review

A Must-Have Book for Mass Torts Practitioners

Insight into the background and development of mass torts litigation, detailing how and why the litigation exists as it does today

By Elizabeth A. Kane

Mass Torts in the United States provides a unique and detailed walk through all aspects of mass torts litigation. Rather than simply providing an overview of the current state of mass torts litigation and the concerns particular to it, Mass Torts offers insight into the background and development of mass torts litigation so that practitioners can understand how and why the litigation exists as it does today. The approach taken by the Mass Torts authors delivers interesting content in two main ways—first, as a primer for practitioners outside of the mass torts litigation practice and, second, as a source of tips and tricks for attorneys whose bread and butter is mass torts litigation.

Mass Torts in the United States

Mass Torts in the United States

Courtesy of ABA Publishing

For practitioners unfamiliar with the intricacies of mass torts litigation, the material provides insight into the development of the current litigation, written in a way that is both fascinating and informative to attorneys and readers of other backgrounds. Whether you are a law student, a retired attorney, an attorney who practices in another discipline, or just an interested reader, the book is an informative and practical resource for a soup-to-nuts understanding of mass torts litigation. Mass Torts allows the readers to experience mass torts litigation from the perspective of the attorneys who practice in the area every day, but without the burden and challenges of taking on a case outside of their typical practice area.

For more seasoned mass torts practitioners, the book provides both historical context as well as tips and theories for handling any type of mass tort case on a regular basis. By way of context, the authors provide an overview of the varied types of cases involved in mass torts litigation—from the more widely known subsets of cases involving asbestos, tobacco, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices, to the less obvious, but equally complex, cases involving building disasters, environmental disasters, and terrorist attacks. Understanding how these cases historically proceeded through the state and federal courts, many times as class actions or as part of multidistrict litigation, allows the reader to understand the context of mass torts litigation today.

The authors of Mass Torts use broad brushstrokes to provide an overview of the specific legal theories involved in litigating a mass tort case, regardless of the specific product or event at issue. This approach delivers content that is useful for all practitioners. The book, for example, outlines the basic contours of the applicable theories of liability but, more importantly, delineates exceptions to those theories. By taking this approach, the authors deliver content that is not just interesting from a theoretical perspective but also useful for practitioners of any level.

Moving beyond the theories of liability, the authors next deliver valuable material relating to defenses in mass torts cases. Whether you are a plaintiff’s attorney trying to anticipate your opponent’s strategy or a defense attorney aiming to minimize or even avoid liability and damages, the book provides insight into, and examples of, defenses raised in various jurisdictions and types of cases.

After laying out the background of mass torts litigation, the book deftly moves through the remaining topics. The authors dive into important issues such as the judiciary’s role in managing mass torts litigation. In so doing, the book touches on matters of critical importance to practitioners: multidistrict litigation, class actions, and other jurisdictional statutes, among others.

Beyond giving readers a deep understanding of the nuts and bolts of practicing in mass torts litigation, the book shines a light on critical practice strategies for maneuvering through the litigation. With entire chapters devoted to expert evidence, discovery strategy, and litigation communications, the book provides advice about how to handle and navigate the meat of a mass torts litigation case. For practitioners without first-chair trial experience, this information is both insightful and useful for when that first-chair opportunity arises.

Finally, as many mass torts practitioners are acutely aware, settling a mass torts case often involves insurance companies and their policies. Mass Torts provides an in-depth look at how to reach settlement in mass torts cases and the differences involved in settlements of class actions, bankruptcy settlements, or individual case-by-case settlements. Understanding how these settlements evolve and the role that insurance companies and their policies play in the settlement process is an essential part of the litigation process. The authors’ experience and advice regarding insurance policies and their role in mass torts litigation help practitioners understand an issue of critical concern when settling cases for their clients.

Mass Torts is a necessary read for mass torts practitioners and highly recommended for those outside of the mass torts field but with an interest in a booming area of litigation in the United States. The book skillfully provides a vast amount of information, and it does so in a way that makes the content easy to read and absorb.

Purchase Today

The book is available for purchase today. Search this and other Litigation Section books at  or by calling 1-800-285-2221.

Elizabeth A. Kane


Elizabeth A. Kane is a contributing editor for Litigation News.

Copyright © 2022, American Bar Association. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or downloaded or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association. The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the positions or policies of the American Bar Association, the Litigation Section, this committee, or the employer(s) of the author(s).

The material in all ABA publications is copyrighted and may be reprinted by permission only. Request reprint permission here.