Wednesday, January 25, 2017 - The next hearing session to take place before the JPML is scheduled to occur on March 30 in Phoenix, Arizona. The hearing session will look at a number of motion to transfer requests filed by plaintiffs that are a part of complex litigation that they feel would benefit from federal class consolidation. The hearing order for the March 30 hearing session has not been released on the JPML‘s website yet.
The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation is appointed by the Chief Justice of the United States and determines which motion to transfer requests are granted class consolidated into multidistrict litigation. This litigative process is employed to streamline the process by which complex and massive litigation efforts proceed through the pretrial process and helps them eliminate the risk of slow moving duplicate discovery to bog down a group of lawsuits.
The JPML is headed by a Chair of the Panel which is also designate by the Chief Justice of the United States. The panel hears the arguments made by lawyers representing the plaintiff that filed the motion to transfer, as well of lawyers of plaintiffs who differ in their requests either for consolidation, or an alternative suggestion for the federal court before which the claims should be transferred. The defendants also make arguments for or against consolidation, as well as gives suggestions for where the MDL should be consolidated.
The motions to transfer requests that will be appearing before the JPML in March will be posted to the JPML website before the hearing. The number of requests heard at each hearing can change, though usually they don‘t grow to be more than two or three dozen per hearing session. The hearing session will be conducted in one courtroom over the course of one day, during which lawyers representing plaintiffs and defendants will be called up one at a time to make their argument before the panel regarding their party‘s feelings on the relevant MDL request.
The location for the JPML hearing moves around federal courthouses nationwide and take place every two months. The site of the hearing session to take place after the one in Phoenix has not yet been announced. That information will likely be released on the website shortly after all the decisions made on motion to transfer requests stemming from the Miami hearing are finished by the JPML.
It is usually expected that answers will be given by the JPML in a matter of week so that the counsel for both sides can prepare for the MDL. The federal judge receiving the litigation will also have to prepare for the litigation set to arrive at their court, though a number of the motions are transferred by the JPML to a federal court where the judge is familiar with the particular issues brought by the class of lawsuits included in the MDL. The motions that are easiest for the JPML to deny will be released first, followed by the cases that required more deliberation over if they should be consolidated and where the consolidated groups should be sent.