As we’ve seen with several recent highly complex cases, creating a resolution strategy at the beginning of a dispute can save both time and money before litigation costs mount. Although 95 percent of cases settle before trial, the eventual settlement often takes place following a number of hours and dollars spent preparing for litigation.
Take for example when a corporation has been sued in a variety of jurisdictions, and the cases have been consolidated into a multidistrict litigation (MDL), which is a federal procedure designed to consolidate and process complex cases. Typically the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (MDL Panel) assigns one federal judge to coordinate cases spread out across the U.S. The purpose of this centralization process is to avoid duplication of discovery, prevent inconsistent pretrial rulings and promote efficiency for counsel and judges. The Panel remands transferred actions not terminated in the transferee district to their originating transferor districts at or before the conclusion of centralized pretrial proceedings. Generally, the appointed MDL judge oversees the settlement process, creating it in conjunction with the plaintiff steering committee, the defendants’ settlement counsel and a settlement special master or mediator.