Multidistrict Litigation and Personal Injury Cases
Mount Laurel Personal Injury Attorneys • New Jersey
Certain kinds of personal injury cases involve complex issues affecting a large number of injury victims — for example, cases involving airplane accidents, defective medical devices, dangerous drugs or exposure to toxic materials. As a result, a large number of related personal injury cases may be filed in different jurisdictions. In order to ease the burden placed on the court system and to better manage the common issues involved, the federal court system has instituted a special legal procedure intended to better facilitate the handling of such cases.
Multidistrict Litigation and the Initial Stages Involved
Referred to as multidistrict litigation (MDL), this procedure allows several civil cases that involve common issues to be transferred to a single district court. These kinds of cases often involve related civil actions from around the country and almost always have the same question (or questions) of fact. A single judge is appointed to handle the litigation during the pretrial and discovery phases. If a case does not settle or is dismissed during MDL, it is sent back to the original court where it was scheduled to be heard.
How Multidistrict Litigation Functions
The decision to bundle cases for MDL is decided by the seven-member United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. This panel is appointed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. If the panel decides to consolidate several cases from around the country, it transfers them to a single federal district court.
The appointed MDL judge who presides over the pretrial motions and discovery portions of the case also presides over the settlement conferences. He or she may dismiss some cases or claims. If a trial is deemed necessary for dismissed cases, they will be tried in the venue from which they originated.
Advantages and Disadvantages of MDL
One obvious advantage of MDL for corporations facing litigation on a single issue throughout the country is the cost encountered as a result. When these cases are consolidated and transferred to a single federal district court, the cost of litigation is less and working with eyewitnesses or experts is easier as well. Experts and witnesses aren’t required to testify multiple times and defendants needn’t be deposed multiple times.
MDL also makes it easier for attorneys representing injury victims to combine resources, share information and coordinate investigative efforts in preparing their clients’ cases against a defendant.
Questions Regarding MDL? Contact Injury Attorneys Taylor & Boguski
If you’ve been injured due to a defective medical device, dangerous drug, airliner crash or exposure to toxic materials, contact Mount Laurel personal injury attorneys at Taylor & Boguski today to learn how we can help you.