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Against Bankruptcy: Public Litigation Values Versus The Endless Quest For Global Peace In Mass Litigation, Abbe Gluck, Elizabeth Chamblee Burch, Adam Zimmerman Feb 2024

Against Bankruptcy: Public Litigation Values Versus The Endless Quest For Global Peace In Mass Litigation, Abbe Gluck, Elizabeth Chamblee Burch, Adam Zimmerman

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Can bankruptcy court solve a public health crisis? Should the goal of “global peace” in complex lawsuits trump traditional litigation values in a system grounded in public participation and jurisdictional redundancy? How much leeway do courts have to innovate civil procedure?

These questions have finally reached the Supreme Court in Harrington v. Purdue Pharma L.P., the $6 billion bankruptcy that purports to achieve global resolution of all current and future opioids suits against the company and its former family owners, the Sacklers. The case provides a critical opportunity to reflect on what is lost when parties in mass torts find …


Plaintiffs' Process: Civil Procedure, Mdl, And A Day In Court, Elizabeth Chamblee Burch, Abbe R. Gluck Jul 2023

Plaintiffs' Process: Civil Procedure, Mdl, And A Day In Court, Elizabeth Chamblee Burch, Abbe R. Gluck

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The article focuses on the concept of "plaintiffs process" within the field of civil procedure. It discusses how civil procedure doctrine has traditionally been defendant-centric, focusing on the rights and protections of defendants in legal cases. It examines the role of multidistrict litigation (MDL) in this context and how it impacts plaintiffs rights and access to the courts.


Data Versus More Data In Multidistrict Litigation, Elizabeth Chamblee Burch Jan 2023

Data Versus More Data In Multidistrict Litigation, Elizabeth Chamblee Burch

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A reply to Lynn A. Baker & Andrew Bradt, Anecdotes in the Search for Truth About Multidistrict Litigation, 107 Cornell Law Review Online 249 (2023).

Perceptions of Justice in Multi-district Litigation: Voices from the Crowd presents the results of a study that no one wanted us to do—or help us to do. Professors Lynn Baker and Andrew Bradt would prefer to dismiss as “anecdote” our two-year effort to find and gain the trust of multi-district litigation (MDL) plaintiffs whose attorneys told them not to discuss their case with anyone, including us.

There are decades worth of procedural justice studies …


Mdl For The People, Elizabeth Chamblee Burch Jan 2023

Mdl For The People, Elizabeth Chamblee Burch

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By the terms of its own statute and the limits of its constitutional authority, multidistrict litigation (“MDL”) is designed to transfer and coordinate individual lawsuits then return plaintiffs back to their chosen fora for case-specific discovery and trial. Because each plaintiff is present and has her own lawyer, there is no need for the judge to police conflicts of interest or attorney loyalty as in the MDL’s kin, the class action.

But these assumptions do not match the empirical reality. Remand is rare. MDL judges resolve ninety-nine percent of the cases before them. And to some attorneys, the people of …


Perceptions Of Justice In Multidistrict Litigation: Voices From The Crowd, Elizabeth Chamblee Burch, Margaret S. Williams Jan 2022

Perceptions Of Justice In Multidistrict Litigation: Voices From The Crowd, Elizabeth Chamblee Burch, Margaret S. Williams

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With all eyes on criminal justice reform, multidistrict litigation (MDL) has quietly reshaped civil justice, undermining fundamental tenets of due process, procedural justice, attorney ethics, and tort law along the way. In 2020, the MDL caseload tripled that of the federal criminal caseload, one out of every two cases filed in federal civil court was an MDL case, and 97% of those were products liability like opioids, talc, and Roundup.

Ordinarily, civil procedure puts tort plaintiffs in the driver’s seat, allowing them to choose who and where to sue, and what claims to bring. Procedural justice tells courts to ensure …


Collected Wisdom On Selecting Leaders And Managing Mdls, Elizabeth Chamblee Burch, Stephen Bough Jan 2022

Collected Wisdom On Selecting Leaders And Managing Mdls, Elizabeth Chamblee Burch, Stephen Bough

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Today, nearly one out of every two new suits filed in federal civil court is part of a multidistrict litigation (MDL). Initially designed to organize antitrust cases against electrical equipment manufacturers, MDL’s adaptability and minimal requirements made it the preferred approach for coordinating pretrial process for all manner of cases, from securities, employment, intellectual property, and antitrust to sales practices, common disasters, and products liability. Yet, the simplicity of MDL’s technical requirements—that cases are pending in different districts and share a common factual question—belie the complexity of the proceedings themselves. Governed principally by insiders’ unwritten but longstanding norms, both newly-appointed …


Civil Rights Law Equity: An Introduction To A Theory Of What Civil Rights Has Become, John Valery White Jan 2022

Civil Rights Law Equity: An Introduction To A Theory Of What Civil Rights Has Become, John Valery White

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This Article argues that civil rights law is better understood as civil rights equity. It contends that the four-decade-long project of restricting civil rights litigation has shaped civil rights jurisprudence into a contemporary version of traditional equity. For years commentators have noted the low success rates of civil rights suits and debated the propriety of increasingly restrictive procedural and substantive doctrines. Activists have lost faith in civil rights litigation as an effective tool for social change, instead seeking change in administrative forums, or by asserting political pressure through social media and activism to compel policy change. As for civil rights …


Considering The Therapeutic Consequences Of Recent Reforms To Civil Statutes Of Limitations For Child Sexual Abuse Claims, Emma Hetherington Apr 2021

Considering The Therapeutic Consequences Of Recent Reforms To Civil Statutes Of Limitations For Child Sexual Abuse Claims, Emma Hetherington

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In recent years, child sexual abuse has emerged as a major topic of news, documentaries, and Hollywood films. Public attention on child sexual abuse, including the Boston Globe's reporting on the sexual abuse of children by priests in the Catholic Church, sexual abuse of elite gymnasts, and the #MeToo movement, have brought increased attention to the issue, sparking calls for reform and access to justice. State legislatures across the country have answered these calls for reform by seeking to improve civil statutes of limitation in order to increase survivor access to justice. Between 2002 and 2020, forty-eight states and the …


Trump V. Mazars Usa, Llp: The Case Of The Chief Justice And The Congressional Subpoenas, Rodger D. Citron Jan 2021

Trump V. Mazars Usa, Llp: The Case Of The Chief Justice And The Congressional Subpoenas, Rodger D. Citron

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No abstract provided.


Judicial Adjuncts In Multidistrict Litigation, Elizabeth Chamblee Burch, Margaret S. Williams Jan 2020

Judicial Adjuncts In Multidistrict Litigation, Elizabeth Chamblee Burch, Margaret S. Williams

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Peeking under the tent of our nation's largest and often most impactful cases reveals that judges often act like ringmasters: They delegate their authority to a wide array of magistrate judges, special masters, and settlement administrators. Some, like the American Bar Association, see this as a plus that promotes efficiency and cost savings. Critics, however, contend that delegating judicial power especially to private citizens, removes adjudication from public scrutiny, injects thorny ethical questions about ex parte communications, and risks cronyism and high costs. By constructing an original dataset of ninety-two multidistrict products liability proceedings centralized over fourteen years, we introduce …


Our Passive-Aggressive Model Of Civil Adjudication, Thomas O. Main Jan 2019

Our Passive-Aggressive Model Of Civil Adjudication, Thomas O. Main

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In this essay, Professor Main offers one original observation and poses two new questions about the vanishing civil trial.


Uncovering The Hidden Conflicts In Securities Class Action Litigation: Lessons From The State Street Case, Benjamin P. Edwards, Anthony Rickey Jan 2019

Uncovering The Hidden Conflicts In Securities Class Action Litigation: Lessons From The State Street Case, Benjamin P. Edwards, Anthony Rickey

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Courts, Congress, and commentators have long worried that stockholder plaintiffs in securities and M&A litigation and their counsel may pursue suits that benefit themselves rather than absent stockholders or the corporations in which they invest. Following congressional reforms that encouraged the appointment of institutional stockholders as lead plaintiffs in securities actions, significant academic commentary has focused on the problem of “pay to play”—the possibility that class action law firms encourage litigation by making donations to politicians with influence over institutional stockholders, particularly public sector pension funds.

A recent federal securities class action in the District of Massachusetts, however, suggests that …


Publicly Funded Objectors, Elizabeth Chamblee Burch Jan 2018

Publicly Funded Objectors, Elizabeth Chamblee Burch

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On paper, class actions run like clockwork. But practice suggests the need for tune-ups: sometimes judges still approve settlements rife with red flags, and professional objectors may be more concerned with shaking down class counsel than with improving class members’ outcomes. The lack of data on the number of opt-outs, objectors, and claims rates fuels debates on both sides, for little is known about how well or poorly class members actually fare. This reveals a ubiquitous problem — information barriers confront judges, objectors, and even reformers. Rule 23’s answer is to empower objectors. At best, objectors are a partial fix. …


Promoting Executive Accountability Through Qui Tam Legislation, Randy Beck Jan 2018

Promoting Executive Accountability Through Qui Tam Legislation, Randy Beck

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For hundreds of years prior to ratification of the U.S. Constitution, Anglo-American legislatures used qui tam legislation to enforce legal constraints on government officials. A qui tam statute allows a private informer to collect a statutory fine for illegal conduct, even if the informer lacks the particularized injury normally required for Article III standing. This essay explores whether qui tam regulation should be revived as a means of ensuring executive branch legal accountability."


The Difficulty Of Discerning The Effect Of Neuroscience: A Peer Commentary Of Shen Et Al. 2018, John B. Meixner Jr. Jan 2018

The Difficulty Of Discerning The Effect Of Neuroscience: A Peer Commentary Of Shen Et Al. 2018, John B. Meixner Jr.

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Neuroscience is often considered to have a certain ‘seductive allure’.1 Its mystique should not besurprising. Seeking to understand the network of nearly 100 billion neurons that make up the human brain, neuroscience examines some of the most difficult questions imaginable. And yet, it is also a deeply personal discipline—questions like, ‘How do we create memories?’ and ‘What causes emotions?’ touch on experiences shared by all people.

Does the mystique of neuroscience cause individuals to ascribe undue weight to neuroscientific findings, or assume that neuroimages indicate research quality? Over the past decade, a literature has sprung up seeking to answer questions …


Is Pena-Rodriguez V. Colorado Just A Drop In The Bucket Or A Catalyst For Improving A Jury System Still Plagued By Racial Bias, And Still Badly In Need Of Repairs, Robert I. Correales Jan 2018

Is Pena-Rodriguez V. Colorado Just A Drop In The Bucket Or A Catalyst For Improving A Jury System Still Plagued By Racial Bias, And Still Badly In Need Of Repairs, Robert I. Correales

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Historically, race-based jury bias has maintained the most prominent place in the hierarchy of social ills that have plagued the American Criminal Justice System. Relying on Due Process and Equal Protection principles, the United States Supreme Court and lower federal courts have chipped away at the problem with mixed results. State Courts have also served as laboratories, providing important lessons on the successes and failures of different approaches, often leading the way with their innovations. A formidable obstacle commonly referred to as a "black box," better known as the no-impeachment rule, has made progress difficult. The no-impeachment rule was designed …


Book Review: Legal Persuasion: A Rhetorical Approach To The Science, Lori D. Johnson, Sarah Morath Jan 2018

Book Review: Legal Persuasion: A Rhetorical Approach To The Science, Lori D. Johnson, Sarah Morath

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In this piece written for Legal Writing: The Journal of the Legal Writing Institute, Professor Lori D. Johnson provides a compelling review of new publication co-authored by William S. Boyd Law Professor Linda L. Berger.


Repeat Players In Multidistrict Litigation: The Social Network, Elizabeth Chamblee Burch, Margaret S. Williams Jan 2017

Repeat Players In Multidistrict Litigation: The Social Network, Elizabeth Chamblee Burch, Margaret S. Williams

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As class certification wanes, plaintiffs’ lawyers resolve hundreds of thousands of individual lawsuits through aggregate settlements in multidistrict litigation. But without class actions, formal rules are scarce and judges rarely scrutinize the private agreements that result. Meanwhile, the same principal-agent concerns that plagued class-action attorneys linger. These circumstances are ripe for exploitation: few rules, little oversight, multi-million dollar common-benefit fees, and a push for settlement can tempt a cadre of repeat players to fill in the gaps in ways that further their own self-interest.

Although multidistrict litigation now comprises 36 percent of the entire federal civil caseload, legal scholars have …


Standing For (And Up To) Separation Of Powers, Kent H. Barnett Apr 2016

Standing For (And Up To) Separation Of Powers, Kent H. Barnett

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The U.S. Constitution requires federal agencies to comply with separation-of-powers (or structural) safeguards, such as by obtaining valid appointments, exercising certain limited powers, and being sufficiently subject to the President’s control. Who can best protect these safeguards? A growing number of scholars call for allowing only the political branches — Congress and the President — to defend them. These scholars would limit or end judicial review because private judicial challenges are aberrant to justiciability doctrine and lead courts to meddle in minor matters that rarely effect regulatory outcomes.

This Article defends the right of private parties to assert justiciable structural …


Discouraging Frivolous Copyright Infringement Claims: Fee Shifting Under Rule 11 Or 28 U.S.C. § 1927 As An Alternative To Awarding Attorney's Fees Under Section 505 Of The Copyright Act, David E. Shipley Jan 2016

Discouraging Frivolous Copyright Infringement Claims: Fee Shifting Under Rule 11 Or 28 U.S.C. § 1927 As An Alternative To Awarding Attorney's Fees Under Section 505 Of The Copyright Act, David E. Shipley

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The United States Supreme Court’s 2016 decision in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons resolved a disagreement over when it is appropriate to award attorney’s fees to a prevailing defendant under section 505 of the Copyright Act, and ended a perceived venue advantage for losing plaintiffs in some jurisdictions. The Court ruled unanimously that courts are correct to give substantial weight to the question of whether the losing side had a reasonable case to fight, but that the objective reasonableness of that side’s position does not give rise to a presumption against fee shifting. It made clear that other factors …


Judging Multidistrict Litigation, Elizabeth Chamblee Burch Apr 2015

Judging Multidistrict Litigation, Elizabeth Chamblee Burch

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High-stakes multidistrict litigations saddle the transferee judges who manage them with an odd juxtaposition of power and impotence. On one hand, judges appoint and compensate lead lawyers (who effectively replace parties’ chosen counsel) and promote settlement with scant appellate scrutiny or legislative oversight. But on the other, without the arsenal class certification once afforded, judges are relatively powerless to police the private settlements they encourage. Of course, this power shortage is of little concern since parties consent to settle.

Or do they? Contrary to conventional wisdom, this Article introduces new empirical data revealing that judges appoint an overwhelming number of …


Navigating The Law Of Defense Counsel Ex Parte Interviews Of Treating Physicians, Joseph Regalia, V. Andrew Cass Jan 2015

Navigating The Law Of Defense Counsel Ex Parte Interviews Of Treating Physicians, Joseph Regalia, V. Andrew Cass

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This article explores the issue of defense counsel ex parte interviews with treating physicians, and proposes a resolution to standardize the practice that is equitable for all parties involved. Courts and legal scholars have commonly recognized that treating physicians in personal injury litigation are usually fact witnesses, albeit with special expertise, and allow plaintiffs unfettered access while defendants are relegated to a formal deposition which creates a fundamental imbalance in informational power. Moreover, there are significant arguments raised by the defense bar concerning efficiency and fairness. However, allowing defense counsel unlimited and unregulated access to treating physicians creates clear risks …


All Together Now: Using Principles Of Group Dynamics To Train Better Jurors, Sara Gordon Jan 2015

All Together Now: Using Principles Of Group Dynamics To Train Better Jurors, Sara Gordon

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We ask juries to make important decisions that have a profound impact on people’s lives. We leave these decisions in the hands of groups of laypeople because we hope that the diverse range of experiences and knowledge in the group will lead to more thoughtful and informed decisionmaking. Studies suggest that diverse groups of jurors have different perspectives on evidence, engage in more thorough debate, and more closely evaluate facts. At the same time, there are a variety of problems associated with group decisionmaking, from the loss of individual motivation in group settings, to the vulnerability of groups to various …


Disarming Employees: How American Employers Are Using Mandatory Arbitration To Deprive Workers Of Legal Protection, Jean R. Sternlight Jan 2015

Disarming Employees: How American Employers Are Using Mandatory Arbitration To Deprive Workers Of Legal Protection, Jean R. Sternlight

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Employers’ imposition of mandatory arbitration constricts employees’ access to justice. The twenty percent of the American workforce covered by mandatory arbitration clauses file just 2,000 arbitration claims annually, a minuscule number even compared to the small number of employees who litigate claims individually or as part of a class action. Exploring how mandatory arbitration prevents employees from enforcing their rights the Article shows employees covered by mandatory arbitration clauses (1) win far less frequently and far less money than employees who litigate; (2) have a harder time obtaining legal representation; (3) are often precluded from participating in class, collective or …


Remanding Multidistrict Litigation, Elizabeth Chamblee Burch Jan 2014

Remanding Multidistrict Litigation, Elizabeth Chamblee Burch

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Multidistrict litigation has frequently been described as a “black hole” because transfer is typically a one-way ticket. The numbers lend truth to this proposition. As of 2010, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation remanded only 3.425% of cases to their original districts. That number dwindled to 3.1% in 2012, and to a scant 2.9% in 2013. Retaining cases in hopes of forcing a global settlement can cause a constellation of complications. These concerns range from procedural justice issues over selecting a forum and correcting error, to substantive concerns about fidelity to state laws, to undermining democratic participation ideals fulfilled through …


This Is Your Sword: How Damaging Are Prior Convictions To Plaintiffs In Civil Trials?, Kathryn M. Stanchi, Deirdre Bowen Jan 2014

This Is Your Sword: How Damaging Are Prior Convictions To Plaintiffs In Civil Trials?, Kathryn M. Stanchi, Deirdre Bowen

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The conventional wisdom in law is that a prior conviction is one of the most powerful and damaging pieces of evidence that can be offered against a witness or party. In legal lore, prior convictions seriously undercut the credibility of the witness and can derail the outcome of a trial. This Article suggests that may not always be true.

This Article details the results of an empirical study of juror decision-making that challenges the conventional wisdom about prior convictions. In our study, the prior conviction evidence did not have a direct impact on the outcome of the civil trial or …


What Jurors Want To Know: Motivating Juror Cognition To Increase Legal Knowledge & Improve Decisionmaking, Sara Gordon Jan 2014

What Jurors Want To Know: Motivating Juror Cognition To Increase Legal Knowledge & Improve Decisionmaking, Sara Gordon

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What do jurors want to know? Jury research tells us that jurors want to understand the information they hear in a trial so they can reach the correct decision. But like all people, jurors who are asked to analyze information in a trial—even jurors who consciously want to reach a fair and accurate verdict—are unconsciously influenced by their internal goals and motivations. Some of these motives are specific to individual jurors; for instance, a potential juror with a financial interest in a case would be excluded from the jury pool. But other motivations, like the motive to understand the law …


Using Outcomes To Reframe Guilty Plea Adjudication, Anne R. Traum Jan 2014

Using Outcomes To Reframe Guilty Plea Adjudication, Anne R. Traum

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The Supreme Court’s 2012 decisions in Lafler v. Cooper and Missouri v. Frye lay the groundwork for a new approach to judicial oversight of guilty pleas that considers outcomes. These cases confirm that courts possess robust authority to protect defendants’ Sixth Amendment right to the effective assistance of counsel and that plea outcomes are particularly relevant to identifying and remedying prejudicial ineffective assistance in plea-bargaining. The Court’s reliance on outcome-based prejudice analysis and suggestions for trial court-level reforms to prevent Sixth Amendment violations set the stage for trial courts to take a more active, substantive role in regulating guilty pleas. …


Applying Mathematical Set Theory To Statutory Construction Of Municipal Sign Laws, Ann L. Nowak Jan 2013

Applying Mathematical Set Theory To Statutory Construction Of Municipal Sign Laws, Ann L. Nowak

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This case illustrates why municipal lawyers might want to review their high school mathematics lessons about set theory before drafting statutes. The application of set theory—particularly in the form of Venn diagrams—can help to prevent ambiguity of language in statutory construction. It is this ambiguity that gives rise to differences in interpretation, and these differences frequently lead to litigation over the meaning of a statute.


Does Criminal Diversion Contribute To The Vanishing Civil Trial?, John B. Meixner Jr., Shari Seidman Diamond Jan 2013

Does Criminal Diversion Contribute To The Vanishing Civil Trial?, John B. Meixner Jr., Shari Seidman Diamond

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Through his seminal work on the vanishing trial, Professor Marc Galanter has had a profound impact on public and scholarly discourse about the role of the trial in litigation, documenting the sharp reductions in the rate of civil cases since the mid-twentieth century. While there is little remaining doubt that the American civil trial is an increasingly scarce commodity, there is still much debate as to what has caused the decline.

In this Article, we seek to explore the extent to which the federal criminal docket may be contributing to the rapid disappearance of the civil trial by taking priority …