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Litigation

Settlements

2014

Margaret S. Thomas

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Morphing Case Boundaries In Multidistrict Litigation Settlements, Margaret Thomas Dec 2013

Morphing Case Boundaries In Multidistrict Litigation Settlements, Margaret Thomas

Margaret S. Thomas

The boundaries of federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) are blurring, as district courts seek innovative ways to facilitate global settlements to resolve multijurisdictional, multidimensional, national mass torts. The techniques emerging from the district courts have mostly evaded appellate review and received little scholarly attention, but they raise important challenges to traditional understandings of the nature of MDL and complex litigation. This Article argues that factually similar cases proceeding in multiple court systems in mass tort disputes create a “federalism problem” for global settlements: global settlements typically benefit from oversight by a single judge, but often there is no single judge who ...