Multidistrict Litigation: What and Why?
Previously, The Janicek Law Firm provided a further understanding of MDL cases and how they work. Multidistrict litigation works well for large, complex cases that involve one or more common issues of fact.
In the federal system, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation decides when to transfer cases to an MDL. It usually occurs when there are large numbers of cases against common defendants and the courts expect more plaintiffs to file lawsuits. At the state level, a similar body or a state supreme court can decide to consolidate similar cases.
Type of Cases Subject to Litigation
Multidistrict litigation cases include damages due to dangerous narcotics, medical devices, and other product liability claims. Aircraft crashes, security fraud, intellectual property infringement, and employment practices also have potential to become an MDL. Common issues to consider that may warrant the formation of a multidistrict litigation case are: Does a certain pharmaceutical drug cause brain damage? Was an airplane crash caused by defective braking system?
Several drugs and medical devices are the subject of pending multidistrict litigation cases including but not limitied to: Actos, Benicar, Lipitor, Testosterone supplements, YAZ/Yasmin, NuvaRing, Depuy ASR hip implants, Benicar, Pradaxa, Xarelto, IVC filters, Transvaginal Mesh, and Zimmer NexGen Flex knee implant.
MDL Pros and Cons
MDLs provide an efficient litigation process. Two similar or identical cases heard in two different courts could have very different outcomes. By consolidating cases in a single court both the plaintiffs and the defendants can expect consistent results. Without the MDL, litigants run the risk of various districts issuing different opinions, even when the defendants and representative plaintiffs present factually and legally similar cases. If an MDL fails to settle or disposed of a case, a process called remand sends the case to its original court for litigation. An MDL greatly reduces the delay generally associated with regular litigation. An MDL expedites your case and keeps litigation costs more reasonable. .
Defense attorneys feel that publicity of mutli-district litigation is negative to the perception of defendants. Many plaintiff’s attorneys feel that the publicity surrounding an MDL is good for the public health since it allows them to become aware of the potential hazards. If the documents are made public, they will show despicable marketing practices and strategies, unpublished negative clinical trials and documents that reveal the company knew and avoided the damages.
MDL’s help level the playing field between large corporations with extensive funds and the average consumer. The cost of experts alone may exceed the damages in many complex cases. MDL litigation provides centralized discovery and disperses the cost between plaintiffs. . Plaintiffs Steering Committees, comprised of multiple firms and attorneys, direct the plaintiff’s litigation process. The firms contribute substantial capital and pool resources to litigate the cases and conduct discovery. At the end of the MDL, each case that benefits pays back attorneys for work and expenses for resolving all cases.