Taking a Second Look at MDL Product Liability Settlements: Somebody Needs to Do it
65 U. Kan. L. Rev. 531 (2017)
48 Pages Posted: 13 May 2016 Last revised: 5 Apr 2018
Date Written: May 11, 2016
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: Suggested Citation