Facilitative Judging: Organizational Design in Mass-Multidistrict Litigation
55 Pages Posted: 11 Jan 2015
Date Written: January 9, 2015
Faced with the emerging phenomenon of complex litigation — from school desegregation to mass torts — the judiciary of the last century departed from the traditional, purely adjudicative role in favor of managerial judging, in which they actively supervised cases and even became involved in settlement talks. I argue that a similar transition in judicial role is now occurring. I contend that transferee judges are now stepping back from active participation in settlement discussions but playing a far greater role in structuring and administering the litigation. This new judicial role focuses on facilitating the parties’ resolution of the case, whether through settlement or remand for trial. But as transferee judges increasingly focus upon efficiently directing and sequencing litigation, their procedural and structural decisions can often have unanticipated consequences for the parties’ strategic aims. This Article therefore focuses not only upon identifying the emerging best practices for what I term “facilitative judges” in the first days of multidistrict litigation but upon the strategic consequences these practices have for the litigation.
Keywords: mass torts, complex litigation, multidistrict litigation, class action, civil procedure, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion, transferee judges
JEL Classification: K13, K41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation