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February 22, 2019

Multidistrict Litigation Needs Intensive Care

The 50-year-old multidistrict litigation (MDL) process is becoming increasingly unworkable and is in dire need of repair, writes Eli Lilly General Counsel Michael J. Harrington in Corporate Counsel.

Nearly half of the federal civil litigation docket consists of MDL cases, and according to Harrington, over 40 percent of this litigation may be meritless. And meritless claims love company—the accumulation of such claims draws pile-on filings from lawyers looking to secure a settlement “regardless of the merits.”

In Harrington’s view, three amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) would go a long way to addressing this problem: (1) strengthening rules surrounding early vetting of claims (2) allowing appeals of key motions; and (3) requiring disclosure of all non-parties to lawsuits who make investments in litigation in exchange for a contingent return.

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