The scales of justice are clearly tipping. Even the most cursory review of Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) statistics reflects a docket imbalance which cannot be ignored. There can be little dispute that “the number of federal cases swept into an MDL” has “exploded.” As of the end of fiscal year 2019, there were a total of 134,462 individual actions in nearly 200 pending MDL proceedings. By the end of fiscal year 2020, that number had ballooned to 327,204 individual actions in 176 MDL proceedings. The burgeoning MDL dockets are particularly acute in product liability and other personal injury MDLs (Product Liability/Personal Injury MDLs), where the creation of an MDL (or even the mere filing of an MDL petition) is inevitably followed by a jump in the number of new cases. In fact, some MDL judges recognize that creation of an MDL often leads to the filing of claims with questionable merit.
UMKC Law Review
Early Vetting: A Simple Plan to Shed MDL Docket Bloat
June 2, 2021