A Plaintiff Fact Sheet (“PFS”) is a court mandated questionnaire plaintiffs must fill out in the discovery phase of litigation. During discovery, the parties exchange information. Normally, this is done through interrogatories and requests for production, but in Multidistrict Litigations (“MDL”) and other consolidated proceedings, plaintiffs submit information to defendants by completing Plaintiff Fact Sheets.
Sometimes early in the litigation, a shortened version of the PFS, called a Plaintiff Profile Form (“PPF”) is used until the litigation progresses. Only when a case gets close to trial will a plaintiff have to complete a more detailed and thorough PFS.
What information is required in a PFS?
A PFS or PPF seeks information about the plaintiff and the plaintiff’s claims in a lawsuit. This includes basic information such as:
- Case caption and date filed
- Plaintiff contact information
- Date of birth and social security number
- Specifics of medical device or drug at issue (manufacturer number, lot number, date(s) of implant or ingestion)
- Injuries alleged
- Treating physician(s)
- Limited medical history
Depending on the litigation, some PFSs request more in depth information such as:
- Employment history
- Extensive medical history
- Pharmacy history
- Insurance providers
PFSs are also accompanied by authorizations for plaintiffs to sign. Authorizations allow defendants to obtain necessary documents directly from facilities or entities. For example, there may be specific authorizations for the release of medical, tax, employment, or social security records, etc.
Who decides what questions are on a PFS?
The parties propose draft PFSs. Plaintiffs’ attorneys review opposing counsel’s draft and determine if the information sought is fair and relevant to the litigation. Oftentimes, plaintiffs’ counsel finds questions burdensome and irrelevant. If the parties cannot agree on a PFS, the presiding Judge may decide which questions are proper.
Once the form of the PFS is decided on, it must be submitted to the presiding judge. The judge then enters an order requiring each plaintiff to complete the PFS in a certain amount of time.
What happens if I don’t complete the PFS?
Orders mandating PFSs also include procedures for failing to complete the PFS or inadequately answering the questions. Normally, defendants must put a noncompliant plaintiff on notice that he or she has failed to abide by the order. Plaintiff then has a certain amount of time to cure the deficiencies. If it is still not done, defendants will normally file a motion to compel a plaintiff to complete the PFS and/or a motion to dismiss the case. Failure to complete a court mandated PFS most certainly results in dismissal of the case.
In most of the mass tort cases, a plaintiff will need to complete a PFS. It can be overwhelming, but we are there to help our clients at every stage of the process.