Recently, the panel of federal judges that oversee consolidation of products liability cases throughout the country consolidated cases involving the Kugel Mesh Patch in the District of Rhode Island.
The federal judge appointed to oversee the actions will direct the pretrial and possibly some of the trial efforts that will take place in the near future. Multi-District Litigation, or MDLs for short, are commonplace in products liability and other complex actions.
After an individual files a case in a federal court, or if it is filed in state court and removed to federal, the case will be transferred to the District of Rhode Island for further proceedings. As issues arise in the litigation, the judge or judges in charge of the litigation can make decisions that affect all of the cases in a uniform fashion rather than having literally hundreds of different judges throughout the country deciding the issues in different ways. MDLs also help to keep judges assigned to the cases who are knowledgeable about the legal issues and merits of the cases.
Other famous MDLs include the Vioxx MDL in New Orleans, the Guidant litigation in Minneapolis and the Permax litigation in New York.