LCJ URGES MDL REFORM
According to Rule 1, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP), “govern the procedure in all civil actions and proceedings in the United States district courts.” It is widely known, however, that the FRCP do not govern key elements of procedure in many MDL cases, which now constitute 47 percent of the federal docket. The reason is straightforward: the FRCP no longer provide practical presumptive procedures in MDL cases, so judges and parties are improvising.
While some ad hoc procedures have more merit than others, they all share the same lack of transparency, uniformity and predictability. Many common practices also cause an unbalanced litigation environment by failing to provide protections inherent in the FRCP.
A solution is needed, and LCJ has urged the Civil Rules Advisory Committee to undertake an effort to remedy this situation by bringing MDL cases back within the existing and well-proven structure of the FRCP.
In November of 2017, the Advisory Committee on Civil Rules voted to form a subcommittee to examine the need to amend the FRCP to ensure their application in MDL cases. LCJ continues to follow this process as it moves forward and filed another comment on Friday, April 6, 2018 asking the Advisory Committee not to shy away from its duty to ensure the effective administration of justice in MDL cases despite pressure to maintain the status quo.
REQUEST FOR RULEMAKING to the ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON CIVIL RULES RULES. FOR “ALL CIVIL ACTIONS AND PROCEEDINGS”: A CALL TO BRING CASES CONSOLIDATED FOR PRETRIAL PROCEEDINGS BACK WITHIN THE FEDERAL RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE - August 10, 2017
For more background and information about MDLs and the need for reform, please click below.