Question: What is multidistrict litigation?
Answer: Multidistrict litigation (MDL) cases are civil actions involving one or more common questions of fact. The purposes of this transfer or“centralization” process are to avoid duplication of discovery, to prevent inconsistent pretrial rulings, and to conserve the resources of the parties, their counsel and the judiciary. Transferred actions not terminated in the transferee district are remanded to their originating transferor districts by the Panel at or before the conclusion of centralized pretrial proceedings.
Question: What is the Panel on multidistrict litigation?
Answer: The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, known informally as the MDL Panel, or the JPML was created by an Act of Congress in 1968 – 28 U.S.C. §1407. The job of the Panel is to 1) determine whether civil actions pending in different federal districts involve one or more common questions of fact such that the actions should be transferred to one federal district for coordinated or consolidated pretrial proceedings; and 2) select the judge or judges and court assigned to conduct such proceedings.
Question: How are the cases to be transferred brought before the Panel?
Answer: Proceedings for the transfer of an action under this section may be initiated by–
(i) the judicial panel on multidistrict litigation upon its own initiative, or
(ii) motion filed with the panel by a party in any action in which transfer for coordinated or consolidated pretrial proceedings under this section may be appropriate. Before cases are designated multidistrict litigation and transferred to one federal court, the Panel convenes a hearing and notifies all parties of the place and time of the hearing. The Panel's order of transfer is based on a record of such hearing at which material evidence may be offered by any party to an action in any federal court that would be affected by the transfer.
Question: If my case is subject to a transfer order, but the case has not yet been transferred to the Southern District of Florida, where should I file documents?
Answer: Transfers under 28 U.S.C. §1407 become effective with the filing of the Panel's transfer order in the clerk's office of the designated transferee court. You must make all future filings in the Southern District of Florida once the Transfer of the Case becomes effective.
Question: Do I need to file a motion in the Southern District of Florida to appear pro hac vice or do I need to associate local counsel?
Answer: Attorneys admitted to practice and in good standing of the bar of any United States District Court will be admitted to practice in this litigation upon the filing of a Notice of Appearance in (1) the Master File and (2) the particular action(s) in which they seek to appear. The requirements of Rule 4 of the Special Rules Governing the Admission and Practice of Attorneys (contained in the Local Rules of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida) are waived. Attorneys, upon filing of a Notice of Appearance, will be permitted to electronically receive Notices of Electronic Filing provided the Notice of Appearance includes a request to receive such Notices and provides an e-mail address for the Attorney. Attorneys admitted to practice in this litigation pursuant to this Section are authorized to file documents conventionally as this District does not currently have any mechanism allowing for electronic filing by attorneys located outside of the Southern District of Florida.
Question: How can I be kept advised of the developments of this case?
Answer: All Court orders and minute entries will be posted on the Court's website at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov/MDL/
. These may be reviewed and downloaded at your convenience. These documents will also be served on liaison counsel whose duty it is to receive and distribute them via overnight courier service or telecopier within two days of receipt unless such service has been waived in writing by receiving counsel.
Question: How can I access the docket sheet?
Answer: You may access the docket sheet in two ways. First, you may purchase a docket sheet from the Clerk’s Office for the Southern District of Florida. Second, you may access the docket sheet online by purchasing a PACER account through the PACER Service Center’s website at http://www.pacer.uscourts.gov .
Question: What information is available on the Court's website?
Answer: The Court's website contains the following:
Calendar for upcoming events
Liaison counsels' reports
State court links
Manual for Complex Litigation
Court location with directories
United States District Court's staff
Plaintiffs' Liaison Counsel
Plaintiffs' Steering Committee
Defendants' Liaison Counsel
Defendants' Co-Lead Counsel
State Liaison Committee
A listing of frequently asked questions