Taking a Second Look at MDL Product Liability Settlements: Somebody Needs to Do it

48 Pages Posted: 13 May 2016 Last revised: 5 Apr 2018

Date Written: May 11, 2016

Abstract

This Article examines the forces that lead to the settlement of product liability cases gathered under the MDL statute for pretrial. The MDL procedure is ill-suited to this use, and does not envision the gathering of the underlying cases as a means of finally resolving them. Motivational factors affecting judges and lawyers have produced these settlements, and the conditions out of which they arise do not give confidence that they are fair or adequate. This Article concedes that MDL settlements are likely here to stay, and argues that we need a mechanism to check such settlements for fairness and adequacy. The best way to do so is to allow collateral review of such settlements in suits brought by dissatisfied claimants.

Keywords: Class Action, Multidistrict Litigation, Mass Tort, Product Liability, Global Settlement, Quasi-Class Action, Collateral Challenge

JEL Classification: K13, K41

Suggested Citation

Mueller, Christopher B., Taking a Second Look at MDL Product Liability Settlements: Somebody Needs to Do it (May 11, 2016). 65 U. Kan. L. Rev. 531 (2017); U of Colorado Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 16-3. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2778751

Christopher B. Mueller (Contact Author)

University of Colorado Law School ( email )

401 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309
United States

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