WHAT IS A MULTI PARTY ACTION?

In recent years there has been a marked increase in the number and range of multi party litigation in Ireland. Topical examples include claims relating to army deafness, contaminated blood products and tobacco-related illnesses.

Instructing a solicitor to take action as an individual against a large business can be daunting, and it is not without serious financial risk. However if a number of potential litigants band together, sharing evidence and financial risk to form a group represented by just one firm of solicitors, and take legal action as a group, then the outcome can be more satisfactory than taking individual action and is likely to be settled at an early stage with an offer of payment of damages.

This type of legal action has a number of different names including ‘class action, ‘multi party action’, ‘representative action’ or ‘group litigation’

The ‘test case’

In Ireland the preferred approach to multi-party actions is the ‘test case’. Where several separate claims arising out of the same circumstances are pending against a defendant or defendants, the first case to be litigated becomes the benchmark by which the remaining cases are resolved, this is referred to as the ‘test case’. The ‘test case’ is representative and allows a judge to hear the case of a single claimant which is effectively a generic case representing all of the other potential claimants in the same class. The effect of this is to save the courts considerable time as a Judge does not have to hear scores of individual cases.

To be valid as a class action or a multiparty action the claimants must take legal action together based on the same or a similar event causing similar injuries against the same potential defendant.

Multi party actions arise as a result of a wide variety of circumstances including, but not limited to:

  • transport accidents involving trains, airplanes, buses, ferries and cruise liners
  • incidents of food poisoning and legionnaires disease
  • institutional child abuse
  • institutional elder abuse
  • defective consumer products
  • defective bio-medical devices
  • defective pharmaceutical products
  • environmental accidents including oil spills, water pollution and atmospheric pollution
  • inadequate personal services including health care and incompetent surgeons
  • travel and package holiday misrepresentation and personal injury
  • occupational injuries affecting a sector of employees
  • fraud in the financial services sector including pensions, mortgages, insurance and investments

Time Limits

As in all civil law matters there are time limits with multi party actions which can be complex dependent on the matter in question.

Our Proven Track Record

At Coleman Legal Partners our solicitors have a great deal of experience with rights based cases, including some of Ireland’s more recent topical multi-party actions, such as;

- Hepatitis C cases

- Financial Mis-selling

- Institutional Child Abuse cases

- PIP Breast Implant Recalls

- Symphysiotomy

If you believe you have suffered injury as a result of the negligence or deliberate wrongful action of another please contact Kathrin Coleman by email or by telephone on 01-5313800.


*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement. This statement is made in compliance with RE.8 of SI 518 of 2002.

RELATED NEWS:

Irish Mail on Sunday Article 04.01.2015

The Journal.ie Article 29.05.2014

The Journal.ie Article 23.05.2014