Multidistrict Litigation (MDL)

Definition - What does Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) mean?

Multidistrict litigation (MDL) is a process authorized by Congress in 1968. It allows certain civil cases that would ordinarily be heard in federal courts across the United States to be transferred to one court. Federal lawsuits that qualify for MDL are those that have at least one key issue in common.

Justipedia explains Multidistrict Litigation (MDL)

Federal law authorizes the judicial panel on multidistrict litigation to transfer civil cases that qualify for MDL to a single district for consolidated proceedings. It allows the panel to consider motions for the transfer of such cases, or to transfer cases on its own accord.

The types of cases that most often qualify for MDL include:

  • Product liability
  • Accidents involving commercial airplanes or similar aircraft
  • Trademark or copyright infringement
  • Employment actions
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