On Feb. 18, 2005, President Bush signed into law the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (“CAFA”). The primary purpose of this legislation was to reduce forum shopping in class action-friendly state courts by granting federal courts greater jurisdiction over class action lawsuits. It is this primary purpose that received most of the attention in the mainstream media and in legal analyses of this legislation.

One rarely mentioned aspect of this legislation, however, potentially has a direct impact on Multidistrict Litigation (“MDL”) creation. Given the number of recently created MDLs focusing on product liability claims (eg, Accutane and Vioxx) and the number of similar MDLs that may be created in the near future, it is important to evaluate the applicability of CAFA to MDLs.

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