Why should I participate?


This project gives you an opportunity to discuss your experience with the justice system—the judges, the lawyers, and any third-party funders.

Professor Elizabeth Chamblee Burch is a law professor who specializes in the procedures that courts use to resolve mass-tort cases. She often has opportunities to work directly with judges and Congress to promote changes in the system. This project ensures that plaintiffs’ voices are heard and allows her to hear from you directly.

In the past, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has asked Professor Burch to present at the annual transferee judges conference (before 150 of the judges who handle MDLs) on a panel entitled “What’s Wrong with MDLs?” Judges have also invited her to present on MDL procedure at their district-level annual retreats.

This has given Burch an opportunity to get to know some of the judges who handle these proceedings. In addition, she has taught short courses on Multidistrict Litigation: Law, Practice, and Strategy with a sitting transferee judge or a Panel member.

Last year, when the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a bill relating to multidistrict litigation (H.R. 985), the Committee on the Judiciary asked Professor Burch for her analysis of the bill. She taught at Harvard Law School in the fall of 2017, and in 2015, she received the American Law Institute’s Early Career Scholar’s Medal, which is awarded every other year to “one or two outstanding law professors whose work has the potential to influence improvements in the law.”

Since entering the academy in 2006, Professor Burch has authored over 30 law review articles, which have been cited over 790 times in books, articles, and court documents. These articles have been published by many of the nation’s top law reviews, including NYU Law Review, Cornell Law Review, Virginia Law Review, and Vanderbilt Law Review among others. She also co-authors one of the leading textbooks on complex litigation, The Law of Class Actions and Other Aggregate Litigation (Foundation Press 2013) and has given over 65 lectures to a diverse array of domestic and international audiences—from law professors at workshops, symposia, and conferences, to federal judges at their judicial retreats, to lawyers and jurists at the American Law Institute and the American Bar Association, to psychologists at the International Congress on the Psychology of Law.

Burch also interacts regularly with the popular press to help explain how the judicial system works in high-profile mass torts. Her academic work and commentary have been featured on National Public Radio’s Marketplace, and in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Forbes, Bloomberg, The L.A. Times, Reuters, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, The ABA Journal, The Miami Herald, and The Philadelphia Inquirer, among others.




How can you assure me confidentiality?


To conduct research on people, researchers must go through their University “IRB process.” Professor Burch is under very strict rules that prohibit her from disclosing the identities of any of those who are involved. She will assign participant identification codes to those who opt to participate, keep the key to those codes in a separate location with restricted, encrypted access that is available only to her and will permanently destroy that identifying informaiton as soon as the data collection has finished. She cannot release any identifiable information to anyone unless required by law.

Professor Burch also set up a separate email for participants to use to contact her since her University of Georgia email is subject to open records act requests. If you have any questions at all about the study, please contact her at masstortsuga@gmail.com. That ensures that someone can’t try to gain your confidential information with a Freedom of Information Act request.

Professor Burch is subject to all of the restrictions in the Human Research Protection Program Investigator’s Manual and has taken extensive courses on the importance of protecting confidential information and the methods for doing so. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your rights as a research participant in this study, you may also contact the Institutional Review Board (IRB) Chairperson at 706.542.3199 or irb@uga.edu.




Are you going to ask me confidential information about my case or my settlement?


No. If you agree to participate, you will be asked to answer questions about whether you had opportunities to tell your side of the story and present evidence, how you felt your lawyer handled your case, how you felt about the process and your outcome, and whether you used third-party funding.

For example, this project will ask you things like what you hoped your lawsuit would accomplish and whether you feel that it met your goal, whether your lawyer kept you informed about your lawsuit, and what opportunities you had to participate in the proceedings.




Are you related to the lawyers involved in these cases?


No. Because of Professor Burch's last name and her location in Athens, Georgia, she is often asked if she is related to the Blasingame Burch Garrard and Ashley PC firm. She is not related to any of those attorneys or to anyone involved in any way with these cases.

Professor Burch has no clients. She has no ties to any of the lawyers or to any interested parties on either side. She does not consult for lawyers on either side, and she has no connections whatsoever that would affect her data collection or analysis.

You should feel free to conduct your own research on her before you participate. All of her publications are available for free download on the "Research" section of this website. And please feel free to ask her if you have any questions at all (masstortsuga@gmail.com).




Where does your funding come from?


Professor Burch's funding comes entirely from the Unviersity of Georgia.




What cases are you considering and why?


This project includes all of the cases in which the defendant corporation primarily targeted or advertised its product or medical device to women. It asks whether you were satisfied (or not) when you interacted with the justice system and with your attorneys. The project covers plaintiffs who participated in these actions in both state and federal court.

The MDL cases that target or advertise its product or medical device primarily to women include:

  • In re A.H. Robins Co., Inc., "Dalkon Shield" IUD Products Liability Litigation
  • In re American Medical Systems, Inc., Pelvic Repair System Products Liability Litigation
  • In re Boston Scientific Corp. Pelvic Repair System Products Liability Litigation
  • In re C.R. Bard, Inc., Pelvic Repair System Products Liability Litigation
  • In re Coloplast Corp. Pelvic Support Systems Products Liability Litigation
  • In re Cook Medical, Inc. Pelvic Repair System Products Liability Litigation
  • In re Diet Drugs (Phentermine, Fenfluramine, Dexfenfluramine) Products Liability Litigation
  • In re Ephedra Products Liability Litigation
  • In re Ethicon, Inc., Pelvic Repair System Products Liability Litigation
  • In re Ethicon, Inc., Power Morcellator Products Liability Litigation
  • In re Fosamax Products Liability Litigation
  • In re Johnson & Johnson Talcum Powder Products Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation
  • In re Mentor Corp. ObTape Transobturator Sling Products Liability Litigation
  • In re Mirena IUD Products Liablity Litigation
  • In re Mirena IUS Levonorgestrel-Related Products Liability Litigation (No. II)
  • In re MONAT Hair Care Products Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation
  • In re Neomedic Pelvic Repair System Products Liability Litigation
  • In re Norplant Contraceptive Products Liability Litigation
  • In re NuvaRing Products Liability Litigation
  • In re Ortho Evra Products Liability Litigation
  • In re Prempro Products Liability Litigation
  • In re ProteGen Sling and Vesica Systems Products Liability Litigation
  • In re Rio Hair Naturalizer Products Liability Litigation
  • In re Silicone Gel Breast Implants Products Liability Litigation
  • In re Yasmin and Yaz (Drospirenone) Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation
  • In re Zoloft (Sertraline Hydrochloride) Products Liability Litigation





Frequently Asked Questions

For media or other inquiries, please contact me directly:

706-542-5203

University of Georgia School of Law

225 Herty Drive

Athens Georgia 30606

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