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Bellwether Trials in MDL Proceedings: A Guide for Transferee Judges

Melissa J. Whitney
May 15, 2019

This pocket guide was created to provide transferee judges handling multidistrict litigation (MDL) with an overview of the bellwether trial process. Bellwether trials are one of many case-management tools available to MDL transferee judges. Although bellwether trials are not appropriate for every MDL proceeding, this guide outlines practical considerations for establishing and implementing bellwether protocols in proceedings where a court chooses to utilize them. Examples of past bellwether protocols are provided throughout the guide as potential models for future orders and to demonstrate the flexibility that courts have in designing bellwether trial strategies that are well-suited to the demands of particular MDL proceedings.