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45 General Counsel Sign Letter Supporting Review of MDL Procedures, Corporate Counsel

October 8, 2019

Seeking certain changes to multidistrict litigation, 45 general counsel and chief legal officers signed a letter asking the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure to amend the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure concerning initial census, interlocutory appellate review and third-party funding litigation.... [READ MORE]

Multi-District Litigation Proceedings [Teleforum], The Federalist Society

September 20, 2019

We are now at the point where half of the cases on the federal civil docket are consolidated in multi-district litigation proceedings (MDLs).  In these proceedings, a single federal district court judge conducts all pretrial proceedings—including dispositive motions.  In theory, the cases return to their original courts for trial, but, in reality, very few do because, like every other type of litigation, the vast majority of cases settle before trial.... [LISTEN HERE]

Managing MDL Mania: A Modest Early Vetting Proposal, New York Law Journal

September 20, 2019

Are there too many lawsuits in this country? Perhaps, but the more relevant question is whether our system too readily facilitates the filing of meritless claims, which not only clog the judicial system, but deny those who may actually have grounds to file a lawsuit their day in court... [READ MORE]

Unsound, Ongoing MDL Choice of Law Fiasco, Drug & Device Law

September 19, 2019

Readers may recall that a couple years ago we proposed reworking the federal multi-district litigation statute, 28 U.S.C.A. §1407, in a variety of ways.  Simultaneously, some of us have been working with Lawyers for Civil Justice to attempt MDL change through possible changes to the Federal Rules of Civil and Appellate Procedure... [READ MORE]

Mass Tort Attorneys: Judges Want to Know About Your Outside Financing, Law.com

May 2, 2019

As rule makers and politicians continue to debate about whether to disclose third-party funding in multidistrict litigation, some federal judges have forged ahead in requiring plaintiffs lawyers to do just that... [READ MORE]

The Need for Real MDL Rules Will Only Grow More Acute, Drug & Device Law

April 15, 2019

A jurisprudential milestone of sorts was recognized last month when the ever rising tide of federal MDL filings surpassed 50% − that’s right, over half – of all cases currently open in the federal judicial system now are contained in multi-district litigation.  As reported, “the 248 MDL dockets accounted for 52 percent of all pending federal civil cases at the end of the last fiscal year.”... [READ MORE]

 

Multidistrict litigation swamps courts as rules struggle to catch up; Is reform on the way?, Legal Newsline 

March 21, 2019

Multidistrict litigation – sprawling cases sometimes involving thousands of plaintiffs from all over the country – now represents more than half of the civil caseload in federal courts, according to a new survey, yet defendants complain the rules governing them are largely judge-made and haphazardly enforced... [READ MORE]

MDLs Surge To Majority Of Entire Federal Civil Caseload, Law360

March 14, 2019

For the first time, multidistrict litigation makes up more than half the federal civil caseload, continuing a trend of an increasing concentration of MDLs in federal courts, according to a study... [READ MORE]

PRESS RELEASE

MDL Cases Surge to Majority of Entire Federal Civil Caseload
March 14, 2019

Lawyers for Civil Justice (LCJ), a national coalition of defense trial lawyer organizations, law firms, and corporations, today revealed that multidistrict litigation (MDLs) now account for more than half of the federal civil caseload for the first time, comprising 52% of all pending civil cases as of the end of fiscal year 2018.... [READ MORE]

How Plaintiff Counsel Ads Create A Mass Tort Fiasco

November 15, 2018

A strange thing happened in the St. Louis television market in early 2016. Days after a jury there delivered a $72 million verdict against Johnson & Johnson over the company’s ubiquitous Johnson’s Baby Powder, TV viewers were deluged with ads associating talcum powder with cancer.

There’s nothing new about lawyers advertising for clients on TV. Lawyers of all types spent $472 million in the first half of 2018 on more than 6 million ads, according to X Ante, a firm that analyzes mass tort advertising spending. Current targets include Xarelto, a heart drug that has spawned more than 300,000 attorney ads since 2015, and Invocana, a diabetes drug. But lawyers usually run ads to get new clients... . . [READ MORE]

Are Existing Civil Procedure Rules Limiting the Fair Adjudication of MDLs?

November 15, 2018

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, essentially the rule book for civil cases in federal courts, are supposed to apply to all civil cases in the federal court system. The problem is that the framers of these rules did not anticipate today’s litigation landscape, where one judge in one court may preside over a litigation that has more than 1,000 cases consolidated in multidistrict litigation.. . . [READ MORE]

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New Data from LCJ Reveals Products Liability Cases Make Up 90% of All MDL Cases

October 16, 2018

This is likely an obvious statement, but we at Lawyers for Civil Justice (LCJ) take the law and legal procedure very seriously. But we also see the incredible value hard data has in informing and reinforcing important legal concepts.

 

Last week, we released a new data analysis that revealed products liability cases dominate multidistrict litigation (MDL), accounting for about 90% of all pending MDL cases as of the end of fiscal year 2017.  This percentage has held firm for over two decades, while the number of cases pending in MDLs has also increased more than 230%. In addition, the number of large MDLs has surged, a clear indication that products liability cases are driving MDL growth. . . [READ MORE]

Meritless claims clog courts, lawyers’ group calls for more teeth amending Rule 26, Legal Newsline

October 6, 2018

A new report issued on Oct. 4 by the Lawyers for Civil Justice (LCJ) said pending meritless product liability claims backing up like a logjam in the mulit-district litigation (MDL) court system, unfairly puts the onus of cost on defendants and their attorneys and needs reform.

"The growth of MDL cases, now 47 percent of the federal civil docket, is fueled largely by personal injury and products liability cases, and this is important because these are the types of cases where we see the most acute problems when applying the current Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP)," Alex Dahl, general counsel to the LCJ, told Legal Newsline. . . [READ MORE]

Defense group argues new MDL stats prove need to change rules for mass torts, Reuters Legal

October 4, 2018

The defense group Lawyers for Civil Justice has just released new statisticsabout the concentration of products liability cases in multidistrict litigation. According to the study, which is based on 2017 data from the U.S. Courts and the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, cases consolidated in MDLs comprised 46.7 percent of the civil docket before U.S. district judges in 2017 – 124,202 cases in 256 MDLs. . . [READ MORE]

Products Liability Cases Driving Growth in MDLs, Says Report, Law.com

October 4, 2018

A prominent legal organization released a report on Thursday finding that products liability lawsuits are behind the growth of multidistrict litigation, which many in the defense bar contend needs new rules to fix a host of procedural problems.

According to the report by Lawyers for Civil Justice, about 90 percent of all cases in multidistrict litigation for the past 25 years have been in products liability, as opposed to antitrust, patent infringement or other litigation. The Arlington, Virginia-based group based its report on records at U.S. courts and the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation through Sept. 30, 2017. . . [READ MORE]

PRESS RELEASE

Report Reveals Products Liability Cases Make Up 90% of All MDL Cases, 42% of Entire Federal Civil Caseload
October 4, 2018

Lawyers for Civil Justice (LCJ), a national coalition of defense trial lawyer organizations, law firms, and corporations, today released a new report, Rules 4 MDLs: Calculating the Case, that reveals products liability cases dominate multidistrict litigation (MDL), accounting for about 90% of all pending MDL cases as of the end of fiscal year 2017, according to data from the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML). . . . [READ MORE]

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The Unintended Consequences of Inconsistent and Unclear Rules for MDLs

July 31, 2018

In the last 15 years, the percentage of federal civil cases concentrated in Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) has nearly tripled. In 2002, MDLs comprised 16% of the federal civil caseload, which grew to 46.8% in 2017.

 

This growth in MDL size (as percent of the federal civil caseload) is concerning as the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) -- which govern all civil actions and proceedings in U.S. district courts -- were not designed for the large number of parties that exist in many MDLs today. . . [READ MORE]

And Now A Word From The Panel: A Flood of MDLs, Law360

July 24, 2018

Welcome to the latest installment of And Now a Word From the Panel, a column which "rides the circuit" with the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation as it meets on a bimonthly basis at venues around the country.

 

As the panel heads to a new summer venue of Santa Fe, New Mexico, for its July 26 hearing session, the panel again faces a robust docket of 13 new MDL petitions for its consideration. This continues what is looking like a 2018 trend of new motions flooding the panel's docket In that spirit, this month's column examines a motion to vacate a conditional transfer order, or CTO, filed in connection with an MDL proceeding involving leaky pipes. . . [READ MORE]

Time For Sunshine On 3rd-Party Litigation Funding, Law360

July 23, 2018

On July 1, Wisconsin became the first state in the nation to require parties in lawsuits to disclose the use of an increasingly common and sometimes troubling aspect of the legal system: third-party litigation financing which is contingent on the outcome of cases.

Wisconsin’s action aligns with six U.S. courts of appeals and roughly 25 percent of U.S. district courts that have local rules requiring disclosure of litigation funders, according to a survey of federal courts conducted earlier this year. . . [READ MORE]

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Six Reasons Why the FRCP Need to be Amended to Ensure They Cover All Cases, Including Those in MDLs

June 29, 2018

More than 80 years ago, the United States Supreme Court adopted the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP), with the purpose and intent of ensuring “the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action and proceeding.” The Rules govern court procedure for civil cases and have been amended over time. 

While the Rules are intended to guide all civil procedures, certain aspects of the FRCP are difficult – or even impossible – to apply to Multidistrict Litigation (MDLs) because of their numerosity. . . [READ MORE]

Opioid MDL Order Shows Need For Broader Funding DisclosureLaw360

May 31, 2018

The question of how courts should handle third-party litigation funding agreements took center stage in the national opioid multidistrict litigation proceeding on May 7, 2018. Judge Dan Polster of the Northern District of Ohio ordered every lawyer in the opioid MDL to disclose whether their cases are being financed pursuant to third-party litigation funding, defined by the court as “any agreement under which any person, other than an attorney permitted to charge a contingent fee representing a party, has a right to receive compensation that is contingent on and sourced from any proceeds of an MDL Case, by settlement, judgment, or otherwise.”. . . [READ MORE]

'Boys' Network Slowly Making Room for Gender Diversity in MDL Leadership, National Law Journal

May 29, 2018

When U.S. District Judge Edward Davila of the Northern District of California appointed 39 lawyers this month to lead multidistrict litigation over the alleged throttling of iPhones, he and the plaintiffs attorneys each praised the team’s diversity, particularly since many of the top women in mass torts would be spearheading committees.

But still, 77 percent of the lawyers appointed were men, including the top two lead counsel positions, and only one minority attorney appeared to be on the team. . . [READ MORE]

Women See No Gains as Plaintiffs-Side Complex Case Leaders, Bloomberg Law

May 31, 2018

Women are still much less likely than men to run the biggest federal cases for plaintiffs, despite the recent focus on gender diversity in the legal profession.

 

Women’s appointments to plaintiff-side leadership roles in federal multidistrict litigation decreased slightly from a peak in 2015, new research shows. . . [READ MORE]

Impressions on Duke Conference on Documenting & Seeking Solutions to Mass-Tort MDL Problems,
Drug & Device Law Blog

May 14, 2018

Bexis has lots of opinions on what’s wrong with mass tort (especially drug/device) MDLs. Heck, Bexis has even proposed amendments to the MDL statutes to correct the many severe problems that exist.  Now, Congress has before it possible statutory changes (not holding our breath) and Civil Rules Committee is looking into the same problems.  Maybe something will happen, although rules changes are notoriously protracted, and the cadre of MDL judges (15 judges control 18 MDLs that account for some 47% of the entire federal civil docket) and their plaintiff-side enablers will fight any attempts to curb MDL discretionary excesses. . . [READ MORE]

Can a Judge Solve the Opioid Crisis?, Wall Street Journal

May 7, 2018

What began as a single opioid lawsuit in Ohio is now the only such case that matters. Every significant opioid lawsuit in the U.S. has been lumped together into a giant case before one federal judge in Cleveland who has declared his extraordinary ambition to “solve” the crisis in 2018.

 

Judge Dan Polster is bringing before him all the major companies involved, including drug manufacturers like Purdue Pharma, distributors like McKesson and retailers like CVS. Other parties swept into Cleveland—some of which haven’t even sued yet—include the Justice Department, several Native American tribes, more than 40 states, and hundreds of counties, cities and people. New cases will continue to be added. . . [READ MORE]

Another Voice: A loan is a loan and usury is usury, The Buffalo News

May 2, 2018

What do 9/11 first responders, former NFL players with concussion-related complications, and victims of workplace sexual harassment have in common? As injured parties to be compensated by high-profile legal settlements, they are targets of a specific brand of predatory lending known as consumer litigation financing. . . [READ MORE]

PRESS RELEASE

Lawyers for Civil Justice Launches Rules4MDLs Website and New Education Campaign on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) and MDLs​
April 24, 2018

Lawyers for Civil Justice (LCJ), a national coalition of defense trial lawyer organizations, law firms, and corporations, today announced the launch of a new website (www.Rules4MDLs.com) and education program to raise awareness of the need to update the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) to furnish MDL cases with the same procedural clarity enjoyed by the other 53 percent of federal civil cases. . . [READ MORE]

Litigation Funding Isn't Just For The Little Guy Anymore, Law360
April 20, 2018

As their industry gains acceptance and a greater foothold in the legal marketplace, commercial litigation financing firms are finding themselves not only helping Davids level the playing field, but also Goliaths with respect to better managing risk and deploying their resources more strategically. . . [READ MORE]

A truly disgusting legal-lending racket, NY Post Editorial
April 16, 2018

Kudos to The New York Times for uncovering yet another grotesque abuse by the legal-lending industry — one that uses telemarketers to entice women into unnecessary and risky surgery.

 

Class-action lawsuits surrounding mesh implants are the new gold mine for the tort bar. Millions of women have gotten the implants to correct a condition called pelvic organ prolapse; some suffer side effects — and the legal sharks circle for a fat payday. . . [READ MORE]

How Profiteers Lure Women Into Often-Unneeded Surgery, The New York Times
April 14, 2018

Jerri Plummer was at home in Arkansas, watching television with her three children, when a stranger called to warn that her life was in danger.

The caller identified herself only as Yolanda. She told Ms. Plummer that the vaginal mesh implant supporting her bladder was defective and needed to be removed. If Ms. Plummer didn’t act quickly, the caller urged, she might die. . . [READ MORE]

Fed. Committee Backs Tougher Corporate Deposition Rule, Law360
April 10, 2018
 

The federal judiciary's Advisory Committee on Civil Rules on Tuesday approved rule changes designed to quell discovery disputes and time-wasting over depositions of corporate representatives.

 

After several go-rounds about amendment language and a round of lunch break edits, the committee, meeting in Philadelphia, voted to propose tweaks to Rule 30(b)(6), which covers depositions of a corporate entity’s chosen representative about matters “known or reasonably available” to it. . . [READ MORE]

Prosecutors Investigate Firms That Offer Plaintiffs Early Cash, The New York Times

March 19, 2018

Federal prosecutors are investigating the fast-growing business of finance companies that provide cash advances to plaintiffs in personal injury and other lawsuits, according to five lawyers briefed on the investigation.
 

Dozens of firms offer money to plaintiffs who are desperate for cash and don’t want to wait to collect on settlements or damages they might receive through their lawsuits. Critics of the practice say the advances are the equivalent of payday loans because their high annual interest rates — as much as 100 percent — can trap recipients in deepening cycles of debt. . . [READ MORE]

The Lawyer Full Employment Action of 2018, JD Supra
February 5, 2018

On January 30, 2018, Judge Goodwin entered four case management orders in the EthiconBoston ScientificBard, and American Medical Systems mesh MDLS.  These CMOs establish discovery and briefing deadlines for 13200, 6174, 2876, and 952, cases respectively – a total of 23202 cases. . . [READ MORE]

Predictability vs. Flexibility: The Debate Over MDL Rules, Bloomberg BNA
January 24, 2018
 

The prospect of new rules to govern federal consolidated litigation is drawing familiar battle lines between defense attorneys who seek predictability and plaintiffs’ attorneys who prefer flexibility.

The statute governing multidistrict litigation gives little guidance on important issues of case management, including how to pick lead counsel, hold bellwether trials, weed out bad claims, and determine attorney compensation. . . [READ MORE]

Federal Rules Advisory Panel to Eye Litigation Financing—Sort Of, National Law Journal

November 9, 2017
 

A federal rules advisory panel plans to look into rules changes concerning disclosure of third-party financing of litigation—a move praised by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce—but the breadth of that probe could be limited. . . [READ MORE]

Defendants’ Gripes With MDLs, and What to Do About Them, Bloomberg BNA

October 26, 2017
 

Legal scholars have spilled a lot of ink considering whether plaintiffs, plaintiffs’ lawyers, and the courts are well served by multidistrict litigation, but nobody is looking at whether MDLs are working for defendants. . . [READ MORE]

Legislative Haymaker Could Slam Class Actions, Law360

May 2, 2017

San Diego immigration lawyer Steven Seick remembers dropping by the office of his longtime attorney pal to chat one day in 2007.

The pair discussed personal things and then shifted gears to shop talk, Seick says. His friend, solo practitioner Angelo Parise, told Seick he’d hired a software programmer to track and investigate Dell Inc.’s computer pricing for litigation he was preparing. . . [READ MORE]

Why We Need The Fairness In Class Action Litigation Act, Law360

March 2017
 

The polarized reaction to the U.S. House of Representative’s passage last week of H.R. 985, the Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act (FICALA), indicates that class action and multidistrict cases are in real trouble. . . [READ MORE]

Bill Targeting Class Actions, MDLs Sent to House, Bloomberg BNA

February 16, 2017
 

Is new, sweeping class action legislation headed to the House floor a common-sense way to make the litigation device more efficient? Or is it a wrecking ball designed to keep plaintiffs out of court? . . . [READ MORE]

The most intriguing idea in House Republicans’ bill to gut class actions, Reuters

February 13, 2017
 

Most of the proposed procedural rule changes in Representative Bob Goodlatte’s “Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2017,” introduced last week in the House of Representatives, are directly traceable to the business lobby’s anti-class-action talking points. Goodlatte - a Virginia Republican and chair of the House Judiciary Committee - has significantly expanded the changes he proposed last year in a similarly named bill that was approved in the House but died in the Senate. If Congress adopts Goodlatte’s bill in anything like its current form, class actions and MDLs will be a shadow of what we know today. . . [READ MORE]

MDL cases are basically class actions, attorney feels, Legal NewsLine

October 27, 2015
 

Individual lawsuits that end up being consolidated in federal courts are being treated like class actions, a Skadden Arps attorney said Tuesday.

John Beisner released his firm’s report on Multi-District Litigation proceedings and spoke to the issue at the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform’s 16th annual Legal Reform Summit. . . [READ MORE]

Rules4MDLs is sponsored by Lawyers for Civil Justice, a national coalition of defense trial lawyer organizations, law firms, and corporations that promotes excellence and fairness in the civil justice system to secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of civil cases. For more information, please contact Andrea Looney at alooney@lfcj.com.

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