What Is A Bellwether Trial?

Bellweather-Trial-scaledThe word bellwether can be traced back to the 13th century when shepherds hung bells around the necks of some of their sheep to designate them as leaders. Similarly, bellwether trials are designed to track and monitor the potential results of a large group of lawsuits. They are test lawsuits that use individual claims originating from a group of widely contested lawsuits filed against the same party. When hundreds or even thousands of lawsuits are filed against one party, these trials allow a few select cases to go to court to predict how the remaining pending claims will turn out at trial.

What Is Multidistrict Litigation?

In recent years, the number of medical injuries and pharmaceutical claims that have developed into multidistrict litigations has significantly increased. Multidistrict litigation, also known as MDL, is a special judicial proceeding designed to help federal courts better manage a large group of related lawsuits filed in various jurisdictions by different plaintiffs with similar legal issues and the same defendant. These proceedings are contingent on getting a majority approval from 7 district court judges, known as the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. Upon approval, the cases are temporarily transferred and consolidated at one or more district courts for pretrial coordination. 

Benefits Of A Bellwether Trial 

Lawyers can anticipate the outcomes of similar, impending claims through a bellwether trial. Since hundreds or even thousands of plaintiffs may have filed lawsuits against the same defendant, it is often not feasible to try each claim separately. Consequently, bellwether trials are intended to consolidate and streamline all of the cases, saving the federal court system’s time and resources. Following the bellwether trial, each lawsuit is subsequently sent back to its court of original jurisdiction for further legal action. Some key advantages of bellwether cases include the following:  

  1. Savings on litigation costs and other legal expenses;
  2. Significantly speeds up the litigation process;
  3. Eliminates duplicate requests for witness depositions, discovery documents, and other pretrial proceedings;
  4. Provides lawyers with a crucial opportunity to see how the judge and jury react to their existing arguments;
  5. Helps attorneys further strategize and potentially strengthen their cases; 
  6. Supports claims getting settled without having to go to trial;
  7. Unlike class action cases, each plaintiff can maintain their lawsuit, and compensation is determined on a case-by-case basis; and
  8. These trials help serve as a future indicator of trends impacting the field of law. 

Do You Need A Nationally Recognized Team of Multidistrict Litigation Attorneys?

Suppose you were the victim of mass tort injury, such as a dangerous prescription medication, commercial airplane crash, or defective product. In that case, you should strongly consider contacting the Dietrich Law Firm P.C. Jed Dietrich, Esq., much-admired as an American Institute of Trial Lawyers Litigator of the Year, knows how to negotiate cases aggressively. Our veteran attorneys would be honored to provide you with a confidential, no-obligation case evaluation and consultation. Please contact us anytime, day or night, at 716-839-3939 or by completing our online consultation form


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