Welcome as we enter the 12th 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. As we begin a new year, we also begin a somewhat new chapter in the panel's choice of venue for its January hearing.
In a departure from what has become its typical January destination of the Sunshine State — Florida — the panel heads west to Santa Barbara, California, following a year that saw most new MDLs venued well to the east of California. But we will speak more about that later.
Looking at the panel's docket for the January hearing session, the panel begins the new year on a busier note than the past several hearing sessions, with seven new MDL petitions under consideration.