Mass torts, large-scale legal disputes typically stemming from defective products, environmental disasters or pharmaceutical negligence, profoundly affect American society by shaping discussion on corporate ethics and social responsibility. They offer redress for victims and hold corporations accountable. Notable examples include the opioid and asbestos crises. The former, caused by misleading promotion by pharmaceutical firms, has led to over 400,000 deaths due to prescription opioid misuse between 1999-2019, with an economic burden of $78.5 billion annually. As for asbestos, corporate deception about its health effects resulted in around 39,000 deaths each year in the US, with over $70 billion compensation paid in over 600,000 asbestos-related cases. Looking ahead, the looming threats of tort cases in areas like vaping and data security emphasize the urgency for tighter regulations and greater corporate responsibility.
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