When Congress passed the Multidistrict Litigation Act in 1968, no judge or lawyer today could have foreseen the extent to which MDLs would eventually dominate the federal docket. MDLs compose more than half the federal docket nationwide: the 185 MDLs currently pending represent more than 715,000 individual actions, with nearly a quarter of the pending MDLs involving more than 1,000 individual actions. While actions in an MDL are returned to their original courts for trial, the consolidation of pretrial proceedings in an MDL means that each discovery ruling, every order on a motion to dismiss, and any summary judgment decision, is binding on thousands of parties, both plaintiffs and defendants, involved in the case.

Why are MDLs and class actions so impactful, and what current issues should we be aware of That is part of what will be discussed at the University of Miami School of Law Class Action and Complex Litigation Forum Friday, April 23. The annual forum, now in its fifth year, features prominent scholars, federal district and circuit court judges, and distinguished practitioners from both sides of the table, discussing  emerging issues in multi-district litigation, class actions and other complex proceedings.