A mass tort is some act or omission that harms or injures numerous people. Some examples of this kind of activity include explosions, commercial plane crashes, groundwater contamination due to toxic waste disposal, or noxious pollution emanating from industrial factories. Mass tort actions are not single cases, but rather groupings of individual lawsuits alleging the same issues against the same defendant(s) and as such, they frequently involve multidistrict litigation. These actions are used to seek remedies in situations where a class cannot be certified or there exists some benefit over filing a class action lawsuit. This type of tort can also give rise to mass tort class action lawsuits, where a complaint from a class representative, a person representing a class of injured individuals, is heard in one suit by federal courts under Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, so long as the involved parties establish minimal diversity.
[Last updated in July of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]