There’s a noteworthy article in the December 2006 issue of The American Lawyer about the supposed death of mass torts. The entire article is interesting, but here’s the statistical analysis of the MDL Panel that caught our eye:

“In the panel’s first 15 years of existence, the judges heard arguments to transfer 32 mass torts matters. They denied the transfer of 19 of them–including several proposed asbestos MDLs and at least a half-dozen pharmaceutical cases–leaving the cases to be litigated in multiple courtrooms. Then trends changed. As mass tort litigation burgeoned, the MDL panel judges not only heard more requests, they also transferred a higher percentage of them. From 1986 through 2000, the panel denied only nine of the 68 MDL motions it heard. And in the last six years, only six of the 62 cases the panel considered were denied MDL status.”

Clients often ask about the statistical tendencies of the MDL Panel; it’s nice to have the numbers gathered in one place in print.