What is a Global Settlement?

What is a Global Settlement?

A settlement resolves a civil case, usually before the case goes to trial. Parties enter a settlement agreement when the injured party, the plaintiff, presents a solid claim against the defendant. If the lawsuit is compelling, the defendant’s lawyer may decide to offer a settlement rather than withstand trial. A global settlement applies to a defendant, generally a corporation, manufacturer, or brand, that settles with multiple plaintiffs. The defendant presents a global settlement to resolve all individual claims. This course of action allows the defendant to avoid attending to every single one. 

Global Settlement for a Faster Resolution

A defendant may decide a global settlement is the best route when they face numerous lawsuits. In this event, a defendant may claim that a global settlement will help them resolve the cases quickly and fairly. A global settlement may aim to bypass a trial, although in some cases, a defendant may opt for a global settlement even after court trials. Bellwether trials are indicators in multidistrict litigation that can influence defendants to enter a settlement. In a mass tort case, thousands of plaintiffs file claims against a defendant or a few defendants for a similar act of harm. The defendants may argue that it will be too costly and time-consuming to address the claims one by one. 

What Happens in a Global Settlement?

Global settlements vary based on the parties involved and the claims brought against the defendant. Overall, the global settlement should cover the plaintiffs’ injuries or damages that the defendant caused. The financial compensation should adequately address the suffering brought on by a defendant’s product, device, or actions. A global settlement hopes to contribute to a just and equitable conclusion for the plaintiffs’ alleged damages. However, some argue that a global settlement is not always a fair or balanced distribution to compensate for all claims. 

How Long Does It Take?

Although a defendant may insist that it will result in a speedier resolution, a global settlement takes time. This process typically involves extensive back and forth negotiations between the parties. While it may evade trials or mark the end of a multidistrict litigation, a global settlement is still a lengthy endeavor. Furthermore, the parties need to consult various experts to ascertain the appropriate amount. Financial experts, scientists, researchers, medical professionals, and others are often required to advise in global settlement matters. Even after all of this, a judge may reject a defendant’s proposed global settlement if deemed unreasonable. For instance, in May 2021, a judge rejected Bayer’s $2 billion proposal to settle all future Roundup cancer lawsuits.