Class action lawsuits and Multidistrict Litigation (“MDL”) are closely linked, but have critical differences. Both class actions and MDLs are case aggregation devices utilized in an effort to more efficiently resolve lawsuits. However, the means by which these devices operate are very different from one another.
Class action lawsuits combine individual plaintiffs into a single lawsuit with a single outcome. Class actions are designed for situations where multiple plaintiffs have suffered identical injuries due to the same cause. In contrast, MDLs function as a collection of individual cases that maintain their separate identity throughout the MDL process. The injuries of the plaintiffs in an MDL are similar, but not identical, although the legal questions in an MDL regarding the cause of the injuries must be the same. Importantly, the outcome of one case in an MDL, does not mean the same outcome applies to all cases in the MDL.
The Smith Law Firm is experienced in both types of complex litigation. MDLs and class actions can be confusing, but we are here to guide you every step of the way.