What is Multi-District Litigation (MDL)?

MDL litigation is a special procedure created by congress in 1968 in which complex federal civil cases from around the country are transferred to one federal district court for discovery proceedings and pretrial motions.  If a case does not settle during MDL, or is not dismissed during MDL, it is sent back to the original court for trial.  All cases in the MDL must have one or more questions of fact in common (for example, whether or not bad drug X actually causes cancer).  The goal of MDL is to conserve resources and foster consistent court rulings across different lawsuits that involve similar legal issues.  In MDL proceedings, plaintiffs’ attorneys also pool their resources and coordinate efforts, increasing the money and human resources available to litigate the case.

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