Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2479601
 


 



Morphing Case Boundaries in Multidistrict Litigation Settlements


Margaret S. Thomas


Louisiana State University - Paul M. Hebert Law Center

August 12, 2014

Emory Law Journal, Vol. 63, No. 6, 2014

Abstract:     
The boundaries of federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) are blurring, as district courts seek innovative ways to facilitate global settlements to resolve multijurisdictional, multidimensional, national mass torts. The techniques emerging from the district courts have mostly evaded appellate review and received little scholarly attention, but they raise important challenges to traditional understandings of the nature of MDL and complex litigation. This Article argues that factually similar cases proceeding in multiple court systems in mass tort disputes create a “federalism problem” for global settlements: global settlements typically benefit from oversight by a single judge, but often there is no single judge who can exercise control over all the parties who might participate in such a settlement. This Article identifies a trend emerging in MDL settlements that attempts to solve the federalism problem by extending the MDL court’s authority. In the settlement phase, some MDL judges have begun experimenting with the exercise of power over state litigants (and even individuals who made private claims but never filed suit in any court), in order to facilitate global settlements. In this situation, the “case” appears to encompass the national mass tort settlement itself. This Article concludes that the aggregative trend toward transjurisdictional settlement authority in MDL has no basis in the MDL statute. The emerging practice submerges the federalism problem into the settlement agreement without regard to the inherent limitations on the federal court’s structural power, but the federalism problem remains unsolved.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 43

Keywords: litigation, class actions, complex litigation, multidistrict litigation, settlement

Accepted Paper Series





Download This Paper

Date posted: August 14, 2014  

Suggested Citation

Thomas, Margaret S., Morphing Case Boundaries in Multidistrict Litigation Settlements (August 12, 2014). Emory Law Journal, Vol. 63, No. 6, 2014. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2479601

Contact Information

Margaret S. Thomas (Contact Author)
Louisiana State University - Paul M. Hebert Law Center ( email )
Baton Rouge, LA
United States
225-578-8330 (Phone)
Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 40
Downloads: 5

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo6 in 1.125 seconds