Perspectives on Mass Tort Litigation
April 16, 2013 – Widener University Commonwealth Law School
Pharmaceuticals. Asbestos. BP oil spill. “September 11th.” How does the civil justice system respond when a large number of claims derive from a product or event?
This symposium approaches mass tort litigation from a variety of perspectives. First, a group of nationally renowned legal academics describes and discusses the theories underlying mass tort litigation. Then a panel of practitioners introduces several emerging issues in the practice of mass torts. Next, Pennsylvania-specific civil justice issues, including joint and several liability and venue, are debated. These reforms affect not only mass tort, but more traditional tort litigation as well. One of the original mass tort issues—asbestos—created the widespread problem of bankrupt defendants, and resolving the problem is the subject of the fourth panel. Finally, traditional rules of ethics are applied in the mass torts context.
United States District Judge Eduardo Robreno of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania will deliver the Distinguished Address, “Federal Asbestos Litigation: Black Hole or New Paradigm?” Judge Robreno is the presiding judge of the federal asbestos multidistrict litigation docket, MDL 875, the largest and longest-lasting MDL of all. Judge Robreno’s 2008 appointment as presiding judge led to a significant change in the management of MDL 875.
“Perspectives on Mass Tort Litigation” features a distinguished group of legal academics, practitioners, and judges addressing an increasingly important area of litigation.