Welcome as we enter the 10th year 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 at venues around the country. This first installment of 2022 presents a “year in review” piece, which covers MDL trends from 2021.
Although the panel had hoped to conduct the first hearing session of 2022 in its typical January venue of the Sunshine State, Florida, the recent surge in COVID-19 caused the panel to shift to its pandemic norm of a remote Zoom hearing. Nevertheless, the panel once again expressed that it "plans to return to its practice of in-person hearings when it becomes practicable to do so."
Looking at the panel's docket for January's hearing session, the panel again has a light docket, with only three new MDL petitions to begin the year.