Emerging Issues in Mass-Tort MDLs Conference (Invitation Only)

October 27-28, 2016
Arlington, VA


The Duke Law Center for Judicial Studies is holding an invitation-only conference on “emerging” issues in large and mass-tort MDLs on October 27-28, 2016, in Arlington, VA.  If you are interested in attending, please send a brief description of your MDL experience and reasons for attending the conference to judicialstudies@law.duke.edu.

The purpose of the October 27-28 conference is to lay the groundwork for the update and revision of the Duke Law Standards and Best Practices for Large and Mass-Tort MDLs (2014). https://law.duke.edu/sites/default/files/centers/judicialstudies/duke_compendium_appendix-final.pdf.  We will ask for volunteers to update and revise the MDL Standards and Best Practices following the conference.

Active interaction and discussions between judges, practitioners, and law professors in an intimate environment is a hallmark of every Duke Law’s Distinguished Lawyers Conference.  All conferees are expected to participate in the discussion. 

Six panels at the October 27-28 conference (each panel consists of two judges and three practitioners or other experts) will focus on:  

  1. Extent of co-lead counsel’s and PSC’s fiduciary duty to all plaintiffs;
  2. Recourse of participating MDL lawyers dissatisfied with case-management decisions of co-lead counsel and PSC;
  3. Claims-processing issues, including distribution of settlement proceeds, reconciliation of existing liens and subrogation claims, e.g., Medicare claims;
  4. Requiring claimants to provide more information initially to better assess individual claims;
  5. Bellwether trials – purpose, including whether to eliminate them altogether, selection, and early dismissal as tactical maneuver; and
  6. Impact of 2015 FRCP amendments, particularly amendments to Rule 26 (discovery) and Rule 37 (spoliation sanctions).

A total of 15 judges will attend the conference.  This is an opportunity for counsel experienced in MDLs to work with judges and help shape the future of MDL procedure and jurisprudence.

To encourage frank discussions, the conference is held under the Chatham House Rule: "When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed."

Registration Fee.  The registration fee is $1,250.

CLE ─ Nine (9) credit hours have been applied for in North Carolina and Virginia.  If you are a practicing attorney in North Carolina or Virginia, your CLE hours will be submitted for you.  Attorneys from other states will receive a "Certificate of Attendance" and a completed "Uniform Application for Accreditation" form after the conference in order to submit CLE hours for your state.