Our office is investigating claims of people who were hurt by a recalled dietary supplement called Total Body Formula.
On September 25, 2008, one of my law partners will be attending a Federal Court hearing in Boston that will address a request to centralize the USDCT court cases in one court. The process is referred to as Multidistrict Litigation, or "MDL."
Multidistrict litigation is a procedure utilized in the federal court system to transfer to one federal judge all pending civil cases of a similar type filed throughout the United States. The decision whether cases should be transferred is made by a panel of seven federal judges appointed by the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation meets periodically to review requests that cases be consolidated for pretrial matters pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407
Some folks I have spoken with have asked if the MDL Court is the same as a class action - it is not.
Although class actions may be transferred to an MDL consolidation in the same manner as single plaintiff cases. For cases to be treated as proper for an MDL, however, consolidation the Panel must find they one or more common questions of fact. Since commonality is also an required element for a class action, class actions are frequently litigated in MDL proceedings.
As to the Total Body Formula litigation, each Defendant would like the cases heard in Alabama. Others have asked for an MDL Court in FL or LA.