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All FAQs

How are the cases to be transferred brought before the Panel?

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.

How can I access the docket sheet if I don't have a CM/ECF account?

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

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?

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.

What is Multidistrict Litigation?

Multidistrict litigation (MDL) cases are civil actions involving one or more common questions of fact. The purpose of this transfer or "centralization" process is 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.

What is the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation?

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.

What is the process when filing within a Multi-District Litigation (MDL) case?

MDL Case Proceedings for the Southern District of Florida (SDFL):

  1. An important objective with MDL cases is to have a complete record of the proceedings. To achieve this, most SDFL transferee judges will generally mandate that all filings be entered ONLY in the master case.
  2. The transferee judge will usually enter an order consolidating all associated (“consolidated” or “member”) cases into the master case.
  3. Attorneys should review the Order of Consolidation and may also want to inquire as to the judge’s preferences concerning case management.
  4. MDL counsel of record from the transferor district courts can call the MDL Clerk to inquire about receiving a User Name and Password to file via CM/ECF but, each judge determines whether User Names and Passwords are given to MDL attorneys.
  5. Attorneys rarely file documents with the SDFL in SDFL cases that have been transferred to another court where an MDL is proceeding.
  6. If directed by the Court to file in an associated case, your filings will ONLY be in that particular case and will not have a docket entry in the master case.

** Remember: If counsel from a transferor district wishes to have his/her case transferred to a litigation in SDFL, they must request this from the Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation (JPML) first unless they are requesting that the judge transfer the case via another statute. Upon notification of the request, the JPML will review the case and probably issue a Conditional Transfer Order in that particular case or group of cases. They should not initially file a case in SDFL unless there is appropriate jurisdiction to file there.