Resolution of Mass Torts

Toward a Framework for Evaluation of Aggregative Procedures

by Mark A. Peterson, Molly Selvin

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The civil justice system is increasingly being asked to resolve disputes between large aggregations of plaintiffs and defendants. This mass litigation is placing considerable strain on a system whose formal and informal procedures and practices are based on expectations about traditional disputants that no longer necessarily hold. Some formal mechanisms, such as class actions and multidistricting, have been devised to deal with certain classes of mass litigation, but there are questions about when and how they should be applied. This Note presents the Institute for Civil Justice's (ICJ) agenda for a program of research on mass tort litigation, and the results of ICJ work to date. The analysis explores the effects of aggregation on the characteristics, course, and outcome of mass litigation.

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