Observations on the Manual for Complex and Multidistrict Litigation

In recent years there has been increased pressure on the federal judicial system for improved efficiency in dealing with “the big case.” Such cases typically involve either large numbers of plaintiffs, suing in many district courts on essentially the same facts, or many complex and interrelated issues which require the evaluation of large quantities of data. Because those cases require considerable amounts of judicial time which cannot lightly be spared from dealing with the mounting backlog of cases faced by virtually all courts, and because a great deal of potentially protracted litigation is certain to arise in the future, it is imperative that means be devised to deal expeditiously with big cases. Responding to that demand, the Co-Ordinating Committee for Multiple Litigation of the United States District Courts promulgated the Manual for Complex and Multidistrict Litigation (Manual) in an attempt to outline methods for dealing efficiently with such cases. The purpose of this Comment is to discuss the Manual’s significant proposals and to focus attention on recommendations which may prove troublesome in application.