In the April 3 Legal Newsline Legal Journal, writer Amanda Robert shared the views of U.C. Berkeley School of Law Professor and civil procedure scholar Andrew Bradt, who says mass tort litigation will continue well into the future, but that MDLs will overtake class actions as the preferred vehicle for managing these disputes. “When we have large-scale litigation, the demands on the system are such that we have to have an efficient way to resolve it,” Bradt said. “It doesn’t make sense for there to be 10,000 cases in 10,000 courts across the country. It makes sense for there to be some kind of consolidated proceeding that prevents inefficient duplication of litigation.” For Bradt, Roberts wrote, these large MDL cases offer federal judges an opportunity to be creative in resolving significant issues facing the country. Bradt pointed to a Kansas Law Review article senior researchers at the Federal Judicial Center as further evidence of the increase in MDL filings. The study, From Class Actions to Multidistrict Consolidations: Aggregate Mass-Tort Litigation After Ortiz, shows that before 1990, the MDL Panel considered 22 products-liability proceedings and only consolidated six of them. As of 2008, the study reveals, the MDL Panel was up to considering an average of eight products-liability proceedings per year. “[T]he JPML has become much more likely to order consolidation of products-liability proceedings — almost three times as likely to consolidate—at the same time as the number of products-liability proceedings has increased,” the study said. Asked about the article, well-known pharmaceutical plaintiff attorney Vance Andrus of Andrus Hood & Wagstaff, simply said, “it’s exactly correct.” Read it for yourself.
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