The Answer: Reporting Fair Settlement Values with Ease
By Sean Barrett, Head of Legal Consulting
The now-defunct Monsanto created Roundup, the world’s most popular weed killer, using the herbicide glyphosate. In spite of Monsanto’s decades-long insistence to the contrary, there is substantial evidence that glyphosate is a human carcinogen. Tens of thousands of Americans have sued Monsanto’s corporate owners, with injury settlements totaling upwards of $10 billion dollars.
Tens of thousands more victims still need representation, and mass tort law firm partners want to take on these cases that seem likely to settle for high values. Law firms with suitable tooling can track and report on aspects of their clients’ highly-individual cases over many years and estimate fair settlement values with ease. Proper software solutions also increase the likelihood of securing financing on fair terms, a common step in handling mass tort litigations discussed later. Overall, law firms that utilize case management software will make their data management a breeze and protect the financial health of their business while pursuing years-long litigation against Roundup’s manufacturers.
Mass Tort Litigation Is Conducted Over Several Years
An arduous 3 to 7 years’ wait before receiving any payment, and the intricate process of determining fair settlement values for proven cases, make mass tort litigation demanding on any law firm and support staff. However, some law firms have historically been willing to navigate a labyrinth of challenges due to the large revenue potential of this type of litigation—just like the Roundup litigation, where a large number of potential claims have yet to be settled.
Understanding Mass Tort Cases
Unlike class-action lawsuits where plaintiffs generally receive uniform damages, mass tort cases involve varying settlement amounts based on individual injuries. This diversity in compensation adds an extra layer of complexity to an already intricate legal landscape.
How Law Firms Navigate Mass Tort Challenges
To finance these protracted legal battles, law firms commonly resort to taking out loans against projected case values. However, the key to securing these loans lies in the firm’s ability to present a robust case. This includes not only the sheer volume of cases, but also the crucial metrics of “proven up” cases and their estimated settlement values. Knowing specifically how many cases are “proven up” means a firm has determined whether each victim fits the criteria for settlement.
The Challenge in Managing the Monsanto Roundup Mass Tort Lawsuit
For law firms, determining how many cases are “proven up” and ascertaining the fair settlement value is akin to navigating uncharted waters. The absence of a systematic approach as well as disparate data sources often lead to speculation and potential inaccuracies in the evaluation of the number of qualifying cases and their potential values. This uncertainty can impede a firm’s ability to make informed business decisions regarding budgeting and projections. It can also create intrapersonal conflict and tension among support staff due to the frustrating nature of pulling together data from many sources very quickly – and sometimes unexpectedly!
The Solution: Benefits of Software for Instantaneously Reporting Fair Settlement Values in Mass Tort Litigation
Recognizing the need for a systematic solution, the legal industry is turning to software development to streamline mass tort case management. Think of it as transitioning from a manual, paper-based spreadsheet to a dynamic, digital counterpart. This transformation allows for seamless updates and corrections, ensuring that data is consistently accurate and up-to-date. When data is organized in an interrelated way, a user can update an assumption without issue and that update cascades in a centralized way to create a calculation for a “fair settlement value” that’s constantly up-to-date.
The benefits of software in reporting case values in mass tort litigation are extremely helpful to law firms. These include:
- Efficient Case Management: Immediately identify the number of proven cases without sifting through disparate systems or data.
- Accurate Settlement Values: Calculate estimated settlement values promptly, reducing guesswork and speculation.
- Faster Claim Resolution: With streamlined processes, law firms can resolve cases more efficiently, providing quicker compensation to victims.
- Enhanced Revenue Generation: The ability to manage cases more effectively contributes to increased revenue from mass tort lawsuits.
- Informed Decision–Making: Software solutions empower law firms to make strategic business decisions related to budgeting and projections with confidence.
How to Determine if Software for Mass Tort Litigation Can Assist Your Firm
In an evolving landscape of mass tort litigation, embracing technology-based solutions is not just an option but a necessity. By leveraging software development to address the challenges of case management, law firms can not only enhance their operational efficiency but also ensure fair and timely compensation for the victims they represent. In the digital age where information is power, adopting these solutions is a strategic move toward a more transparent, accurate, and lucrative future for mass tort litigation. Law firms that want to take their systems to the next level and take on more cases in the Roundup litigation can work with a technology advisor to learn how their firm can specifically benefit from software solutions. I am a former lawyer, so at BRIO, I am that tech advisor. Send me a message ([email protected]) if you’d like help determining the correct time for your firm to bring in software solutions and even create a high-level timeline.