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6 - Reforming Multidistrict Litigation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 May 2019

Elizabeth Chamblee Burch
Affiliation:
University of Georgia
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Summary

Our system needs a makeover, and this chapter uses basic economic and social principles as the bedrock of reform. It builds opportunities for dissent and competition into the fabric of multidistrict proceedings and incentivizes lawyers to use them. But doing so relies on judges. Educating judges and encouraging them to select leaders using a competitive process, tying leaders’ fees to the benefits they confer on plaintiffs, opening the courthouse doors to hear about those benefits (or not) directly from the plaintiffs, and remanding those litigants who don’t want to settle can allow the vibrant rivalries within the plaintiffs’ bar to see to it that dissent and competition flourish. As attorneys object and compete, they are likely to divulge new information, thereby equipping judges with pieces of the puzzle that they currently lack. In short, this chapter explains how arming judges with procedures that better align plaintiffs’ attorneys’ self-interest with their clients’ best interest equips courts to hold parties accountable even without legislation or rulemaking.

Type
Chapter
Information
Mass Tort Deals
Backroom Bargaining in Multidistrict Litigation
, pp. 167 - 213
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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