Monday, February 13, 2012
Steve McConnell at Drug and Device Law Blog has a nice post about a recent Mass Torts Forum/Roundtable for lawyers and judges that he attended last week in Philadelphia. Among the observations that some of the judges made:
Addressing case management issues early is in everybody’s interest. Coordination, including between federal and state courts, can aid efficiency and reduce costs. It can also make it harder for parties to play jurisdictions against each other. An MDL can be a “life-changing” experience for a court. It starts to feel like a huge construction project, where landmarks along the way signal progress. Judges also look for “economies of scale.”
Judges are all over the map on how to select bellwether trials. There is still some support for letting each side pick their favorite cases, but it is possible that the best cases are not representative enough to mark out settlement values. Plus, plaintiffs can subvert the system by dismissing the defense picks at the last minute. Judges don’t like that. And here’s a piece of good news: most judges think it makes no sense to create a bellwether trial with multiple plaintiffs.
The whole post is worth reading and thinking about how plaintiffs' lawyers, defense counsel, and judges can all work together to improve complex litigation procedure and practice.