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MDL / Special Master

In a Multi-District Litigation (MDL), individual lawsuits filed in federal courts across multiple states are consolidated and transferred to a single federal court to resolve and administer common issues. In recent years, parties and the transferee courts have turned to ADR providers to help resolve some of the largest and most high-profile matters.

FedArb’s panel of retired judges, neutrals and case management team are experts at managing the complexities and substantial administrative details involved in large, complicated actions. Our panelists have served in a number of roles, including conducting months-long pre-trial settlement discussions with numerous constituencies around the country, conducting hearing on specific aspects of the case (i.e., Markman hearings in intellectual property cases) or managing some or all of the pretrial discovery process (including reviewing extensive privilege logs);. They work in tandem with the federal court judges, magistrate judges and parties to create a smooth and effective settlement process.

MDLs often utilize a special master to manage parts of a particularly complex case involving many parties and issues that typically take years to litigate. Some of our panelists have been appointed special masters to manage some of the largest cases in the county. Given the scope and size of these proceedings, using FedArb to manage them is a practical, cost effective and valuable consideration for all parties.

MDL Advisory Committee

Recently, FedArb assembled leaders in MDL Litigation to work with leaders in the judiciary, the MDL bar and in academia to contribute their expertise, experience and thought leadership to foster and develop best practices. Explore more about our advisory board here. Among the issues that the committee seeks to lend their expertise are:

  • Allocation of attorneys’ fees in non-class action MDL settlements
  • Interlocutory review of MDL decisions
  • Issues regarding mandamus in the opioid cases
  • The concept of a Negotiating Class, advanced by the late Francis McGovern and Bill Rubenstein
  • What are the obstacles to effectiveness of MDL consolidations?
  • Is the criticism of the use of special masters in MDLs warranted?
  • Should there be a template for the responsibilities of a special master in an MDL?
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