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An interesting new article just appeared in print, if we do say so ourselves.
One of your cohosts (Herrmann) and one of his colleagues at Jones Day (Pearson Bownas) published “Making Book on the MDL Panel” in today’s issue of BNA’s Class Action Litigation Report. Here’s a link.
The article identifies every motion ever filed before the MDL Panel to centralize product liability cases. There are too few of those cases to do a true statistical analysis of the results, but it’s possible to identify the factors relevant to coordination (number of cases; existence of putative class actions: which, if any, of the parties oppose centralization; etc.) and see which factors appear to matter most.
We didn’t find anything earth-shattering. The Panel appears to consider the factors that its rules and precedents say are relevant. Centralization is more likely as the number of involved cases increases, parties agree that centralization is desirable, or overlapping putative classes have been pled. As has been noted elsewhere, centralization of product liability cases has also grown more common over time; motions to centralize product liability cases that would likely have been denied a couple of decades ago are more likely to be granted today.
We thought this article would be a useful resource, because clients often ask the odds that a motion to centralize their cases will be granted. Now you have something more than an experienced practitioner’s best guess to share with those clients. Please put it to good use.