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Draft Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 16.1 Should Do More to Promote Just and Efficient Management of Multidistrict Litigation

news | February 2, 2024

Hollingsworth LLP’s Robert E. Johnston and Gary Feldon submitted a comment to the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure regarding the draft Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 16.1, which will govern the initial case management phase of federal multidistrict litigation (“MDL”). The new Rule 16.1 will be the first to address MDLs specifically.

The comment applauded the draft Rule for encouraging MDL courts to engage with the merits of the litigation from the outset. The Rule’s endorsement of a merits-driven approach is a significant step toward ending the still-pervasive approach of MDL judges pushing the parties toward early global settlement without engaging with the merits.

Johnston and Feldon, however, called on the Committee to revise the current draft Rule to give more instruction to courts on implementing the merits-driven approach to MDL case management. A more robust Rule 16.1 could be an invaluable tool to ensure that courts engage with the issues early to promote just and efficient resolution of the MDL cases.