Debates rage over whether multidistrict litigation, or MDL, should have a mechanism for interlocutory appeal. Though the territory on this topic is well trod, the two sides have not fully mapped out the implications of a parallel controversy in the class action space. One side rails about the due process dangers that MDL plaintiffs face as their claims await resolution in a faraway judicial district. The other complains that defendants get stuck with legal rulings made by these same district judges, with concomitant error costs that get multiplied across many thousands of plaintiffs. Neither seems to make the point that these same issues plagued class action litigation—that is, until the adoption of an appeal mechanism in 1998’s Rule 23(f). This piece argues that the lessons of Rule 23(f) should inform our modern MDL debate. In particular, one core lesson emerges—the interlocutory appeal mechanisms defendants want have strong potential to resolve the procedural irregularities that irk plaintiffs.
Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, Class of 2023. Thanks to Counselor to the Chief Justice Robert M. Dow and Judge Amy J. St. Eve, who both directed me toward resources this paper badly needed, and to Taylor Nchako, Noah Bloomberg, Danny Damitio, Ella Chochrek, Sasha Bryski, and the rest of the NULR team for their helpful edits. All errors are mine.
Copyright 2023 by Jared Stehle
Cite as: Jared Stehle, Two Birds With One Stone Through MDL Interlocutory Appeal: Lessons From Rule 23(f), 118 Nw. U. L. Rev. Online 1 (2023), https://scholarlycommons.law.northwestern.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1329&context=nulr_online.