Proposed New Rule 16.1 Encourages Early Assessment of Discovery Issues in MDLs

On March 28, 2023, the federal judiciary’s Advisory Committee on Civil Rules voted in favor of publishing draft Rule 16.1 regarding initial case management in multidistrict litigation (MDL) for public comment.

Although the proposed rule does not require a transferee court to hold an initial management conference, it encourages the transferee court to do so in order to “develop a management plan for orderly pretrial activity in the MDL proceedings.”  While most courts already hold one or more management conferences at an early stage of MDL proceedings, the Draft Committee Note to the proposed rule emphasizes the need to formalize “a framework for the initial management of MDL proceedings” given that MDLs account for a large percentage of the federal civil docket.  

The proposed rule encourages the court to provide litigants with a set of issues that they must address at the initial conference and outlines a non-exhaustive list of twelve topics for courts to consider. Four of these topics have the potential to impact the parties’ discovery strategy: Continue reading “Proposed New Rule 16.1 Encourages Early Assessment of Discovery Issues in MDLs”

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