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Complex Litigation

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May 15, 2019
Melissa J. Whitney

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.

March 11, 2019
Margaret S. Williams, Emery G. Lee, Jason A. Cantone

This report examines the use of plaintiff fact sheets and related case management tools in multidistrict litigation.

June 1, 2018
Melissa J. Whitney

Science tutorials have developed as a tool to assist judges in managing cases that involve complex science and technology. Such tutorials provide an early opportunity for the court to learn and ask questions about relevant science and technology outside the context of motion practice. Courts should consider holding science tutorials in cases that involve recent scientific findings or newer technologies, where scientific assertions are central to claims or defenses, or when scientific or technological information is likely to play a large role in later dispositive motions.

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May 31, 2018
Catherine R. Borden

This pocket guide is designed for transferee judges managing MDL proceedings that involve multiple, related class actions.

The guide assists transferee judges from the very beginning of MDL proceedings, before the judges determine whether the main focus of the litigation will be on class-related issues. Even if no class is ultimately certified, this guide can help transferee judges organize the litigation and set it on a smooth course. Topics addressed include categorization of claims and defenses, organization of counsel, the sequencing of motions practice, and settlement.

February 25, 2015
January 1, 2014
Federal Judicial Center, Jud Watkins, Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation
This guide is intended to help transferee clerks of court successfully manage multidistrict litigation (MDL). It contains recommendations from the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation and suggestions for implementing CM/ECF to improve MDL case management.
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January 1, 2014
Federal Judicial Center, Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation
This guide is intended to help transferee judges with their MDL cases. Section 1407 empowers a transferee judge to exercise all the powers of the transferor court, with the exception of actually conducting the trial of the case (except in special circumstances). The purpose of this guide is to introduce briefly some of the “best practices” that transferee judges have developed over the years, focusing on core responsibilities.
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September 20, 2013

A clearinghouse for information on the coordination and management of related cases that are pending simultaneously in both state and federal courts. The website provides useful tips for initiating contact with judges in other jurisdictions regarding related cases, for coordinating discovery across jurisdictional lines, and for managing attorney disputes. It also includes links to a large number of model orders on these and other subjects. This internet site is a joint project by the National Center for State Courts, the U.S.

December 1, 2011
Emery G. Lee

The Judicial Conference Committee on Federal-State Jurisdiction and the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ("JPML") asked the Federal Judicial Center to survey transferee judges in multidistrict litigation proceedings about their experiences in coordinating with state judges. The purpose of the survey was to provide the committee and the JPML with information to assist in the development of practical resources to facilitate coordination between federal and state parallel proceedings in complex litigation.

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January 1, 2011
Barbara J. Rothstein, Catherine R. Borden

This guide is intended to help judges who receive multidistrict litigation (MDL) products liability assignments to manage MDL cases and to introduce some of the procedures that transferee judges have developed over the years.

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