Why was the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation formed?
The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation was created by legislation in 1968 in response to the difficulty among the courts in coordinating almost 2,000 related cases that were then pending in 36 districts around the country which alleged a nationwide antitrust conspiracy among electrical equipment manufacturers. A consensus evolved among lawmakers and the judiciary that the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation was needed to coordinate complex cases filed in multiple districts. The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict litigation consists of seven judges presided over by the chairman. The duties of each panel member are the same with respect to deciding cases. The chairman of the panel has additional responsibilities since he is responsible for the oversight of the panel's office, its staff of 20 employees, and its budget. Also, the chairman usually handles any necessary contacts with the transferee district. See The Third Branch, December 1995.
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