"Multi-District Litigation: A View From the Bench"

October 7 2014 | Committees

On Tuesday, October 7th, the Pharmaceutical/Medical Devices committee welcomed experienced Multi-District Litigation (MDL) US District Judges Eldon E. Fallon & Sarah S. Vance to discuss the ins and outs of the MDL process. Chief Judge Vance began the meeting by explaining that the main focus is figuring out what the MDL case is really about and where to place the MDL. She mentioned that a couple questions frequently asked are: why the case can't be voluntarily coordinated and why does it need to be in Multi-District Litigation. Judge Fallon went on to explain the differences between a class action and MDL case; a class action has commonality involved, where as with a MDL case there is no predominance and the specific facts are intricate to each case. Exploringstatistics, 40% of all tort cases in the federal system are lodged in MDL and when you remove social security and prisoner cases it increases to 46%. New York and California are the two states that have the most MDL cases. After discussing the process by which judges and lawyers are appointed, Chief Judge Vance advised lawyers to have a schedule with a game plan in place because it helps the case move ahead and creates leverage points for settlements. 

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