Opioids and Unorthodox Civil Procedure: Will the MDL solve the crisis?

The devastating impact of the national opioid epidemic has given rise to hundreds of lawsuits.   Four hundred of them are now consolidated  before a single federal judge–Judge Dan Polster in the Northern District of Ohio–who has announced his intention to settle not only all the cases before him, but ALL the cases filed across the country, before the end of 2018.  If you didn't just say "wow," you are not reading carefully enough.  I have a forthcoming article about this litigation here.The legal animal here is multidistrict litigation, known as the "MDL."    MDLs currently occupy about a THIRD of the civil docket and yet not many lawyers or academics are familiar with them. I have previously written about MDLs as "Unorthodox Civil Procedure." They enable the consolidation of similar cases that cannot be aggregated as class actions under Rule 23; these cases are often products liability or health…

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