University of Chicago Legal Forum


Multidistrict litigation (MDL) is a procedural mechanism that consolidates federal civil cases from around the country into one federal district for pre-trial proceedings. Congress enacted MDL by statute in 1968 in response to a substantial influx of cases, and MDL represents a large portion of the federal civil docket today. MDL creates tricky choice of law questions, however, because cases are often filed in one district and then transferred to another through consolidation. Should a judge handling an MDL apply the state and federal law that the original court would apply or should he apply the law of his own district? This Comment argues that the MDL court should apply the federal law of the original, transferor court because such a rule would protect plaintiff autonomy and limit inconsistencies once cases are remanded back to their original district for trial.

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