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In the United States, multidistrict litigation (MDL) refers to a special federal legal procedure designed to speed the process of handling complex cases such as air disaster litigation or complex product liability suits. Cases subject to MDL are sent from one court to another for pre-trial proceedings only, and then remanded to the originating court for trial.

The MDL statute is 28 U.S.C. § 1407 in the United States Code.

MDL cases are civil actions involving one or more common questions of fact, such as whether an airline was negligent in maintaining an aircraft or whether a medical device manufacturer was negligent in manufacturing a medical device. In order to speed trials that could involve thousands of plaintiffs, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation decides whether cases should be consolidated under MDL and where to transfer the cases.

As of 2008, the District of Minnesota is the busiest district for MDL cases, with 6 active MDL cases pending as of May 2008.[1]


See also

Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation


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