Welcome to the latest installment of And Now a Word from the Panel, a column that "rides the circuit" with the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation as it meets on a bimonthly basis. As the seasons once again change, so does the composition of the panel, for the fourth consecutive year.
What remains the same is that the panel has once again expressed its intent to conduct its next hearing virtually, reminding us in a hearing notice filed on Nov. 15 that it "plans to return to its practice of in-person hearings when it becomes practicable to do so."
The panel closes out the calendar year this week with a hearing session featuring only two new MDL motions, with a third to be decided on the papers. However, do not be fooled by the relative dearth of new MDL motions. As reflected in this article, the number of actions within the existing 183 MDL proceedings continue to burgeon — now surpassing 400,000 filed actions.