What is the Difference Between a Class Action Lawsuit and a MDL?

A Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) is a procedure utilized in the federal court system to transfer to one federal judge all pending civil cases of a similar type filed throughout the United States. A Class Action Lawsuit is a lawsuit where a large group of people collectively bring a claim to court and where a class of defendants are sued. The difference is that a class action lawsuit can be transferred to a MDL where a Judicial Panel was created by legislation in 1968 in response to the complexity among the courts to coordinate almost 2,000 related cases that were pending in a total of 36 districts around the country that alleged a nationwide antitrust conspiracy among electrical equipment manufacturers.

The Judicial Panel on MDL, which consists of seven judges presided over by a chairman, was needed to coordinate the difficult cases filed in multiple districts. The duties of each Judicial Panel member is the same with respect of deciding cases. However, the chairman of the panel has additional responsibilities because the chairman is responsible for the oversight of the panel’s office, the staff of 20 employees, and the budget. Plus, the chairman will handle any necessary contact’s with the transferee districts.

The decision whether cases should be transferred is made by the panel of seven federal judges, these judges are appointed by the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. The Judicial Panel on MDL meet, on a periodic basis, to review requests that cases be consolidated for pretrial matters pursuant to the law passed by Congress. Even though the panel meets in various cities throughout the U.S., the Clerk of the Panel is permanently stationed in Washington D.C. The judge who has all the federal cases assigned is known as the ‘transferee judge.’ The judges, who are throughout the U.S., send cases to the MDL judge and are known as the ‘transferor judges’ or the ‘transferor courts.’

This entry was posted on Monday, April 19th, 2010 at 1:22 pm and is filed under Class Action Information. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “What is the Difference Between a Class Action Lawsuit and a MDL?”

  1. linda bonville Says:

    the MDL 926 breast implant class action closed Dec. 15th, 2010. It was Racheted down from over 2 million to 250,000, for the highest award per claimant because they didn’t know if they would have enough money. 15 years later, what happens if they have 1 billion remaining in the closed class action. What happens to that money?


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