This text is for students taking courses in complex litigation, advanced civil procedure, or mass torts. It is also designed as a concise book for members of the bench and bar who are handling multidistrict litigation cases. Its focus is on all aspects of federal multidistrict litigation (MDL), including statistics on MDL cases; comparisons with other aggregation devices (such as class actions); the decision of the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (the Panel) to centralize cases (including the standards for centralization and the selection of the MDL district court and judge); appellate review of Panel decisions; tag-along cases; the role of the MDL transferee judge (including case management, designating lead lawyers and committees, deciding motions, conducting bellwether trials, overseeing settlements, and awarding attorneys’ fees); choice-of-law issues in MDLs; personal jurisdiction and venue issues; remand of transferred cases; federal/state coordination (including state MDL statutes); and proposals for reform of MDL practice.

Imprint: West Academic Publishing
Series: Nutshells
Publication Date: 11/25/2019
Related Subject(s): Federal Courts

Robert H. Klonoff, Lewis & Clark Law School


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“This Nutshell fills the long-standing need of practitioners—and judges—for a comprehensive and current guide to contemporary issues and practices in multidistrict litigation, at every stage of such proceedings, from centralization petitions through ultimate resolution. It will quickly become our indispensable companion.”
—Elizabeth Cabraser, Partner, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP

“Professor Klonoff's Federal Multidistrict Litigation in a Nutshell is a much needed addition to the available resources in this fast-growing area of litigation. The Nutshell is a thorough walk through of the MDL experience from start to finish. It is extraordinarily comprehensive in scope, including highlighting important areas in which future developments can be anticipated, while at the same time remaining practical and easy to follow. As such, it will be valuable to both practicing lawyers and students alike. As both a practitioner and professor of complex litigation myself, I know that this Nutshell will be a welcome addition to my book case.”
—Richard Clary, Partner and Former Head of Litigation, Cravath, Swaine & Moore, LLP

“For many years now, multidistrict litigation has been the most important piece of federal civil practice. Yet, there was no comprehensive treatment of the subject. This nutshell changes everything. Not only is this the first comprehensive treatment, but it is one that speaks to professors, students, and practitioners alike.”
—Brian Fitzpatrick, Professor of Law, Vanderbilt Law School

“This Nutshell may be written for law students, but many judges and litigators will find it is very informative on the Judicial Panel. Dean Klonoff brings years of scholarship and practice in the complex cases that are the subject of Panel proceedings and this tightly written book delivers a wealth of information in a very accessible form. Anyone not familiar with how the Panel operates and what happens once the Panel centralizes an MDL docket should read this book cover to cover before proceeding further.”
—David Herr, Of Counsel, Maslon

“This is the first indispensable book about the burgeoning field of MDL litigation. From a secondary procedure for uniting nationwide economic claims, MDLs now command nearly half the civil docket of the federal courts and are the primary litigation field for mass torts. The field generates fascinating procedural innovations and broad doctrinal conflicts implicating federalism, Article III, and the preclusive effects of judgments. Professor Klonoff has the rare capacity to tease out the precise technical issues presented, while moving comfortably across the doctrinal minefields. As critical for the practitioner as for the student.”
—Samuel Issacharoff, Bonnie and Richard Reiss Professor of Constitutional Law, New York University School of Law

“Klonoff's new guide to MDLs is indispensable for practitioners and students. The book is both clear and comprehensive, a thorough dive into this increasingly important area of federal practice.”
—Alexandra Lahav, Ellen Ash Peters Professor of Law, University of Connecticut School of Law

“Dean Klonoff's Nutshell on federal multidistrict litigation fills a gap in the literature with authority and style. MDL treatment went unnoticed by most for decades, but it is now recognized as a critical element of civil litigation. Important state court systems, such as the one in California, have parallel systems. In this volume, Dean Klonoff comprehensively surveys the landscape of multidistrict litigation and examines a variety of critical topics that are today engaging academics, lawyers, and judges with increasing frequency. This volume will find a welcome place on many shelves, and provide authority and insight for years.”
—Richard Marcus, Distinguished Professor of Law and Horace O. Coil Chair in Litigation, U.C. Hastings College of the Law

“Written by one of today’s most distinguished scholars and practitioners of complex litigation, Professor Robert Klonoff’s Federal Multidistrict Litigation in a Nutshell is a remarkable work. It is an extremely valuable book for practitioners and students alike. The book covers every aspect of multidistrict litigation, from proceedings before the Multidistrict Panel and the Transferee Judge to fee awards. Since complex cases today dominate federal (and an increasing number of state’s) practice this book’s contents should be useful for all professionals. It is a very handsome reference work.”
—Arthur Miller, University Professor, New York University School of Law

“Bob Klonoff's MDL in a Nutshell is a sorely-needed guide to one of the fastest growing areas federal litigation. It provides thorough, yet accessible entrée into the world of multidistrict litigation that shows how MDLs really work on the ground. With its extensive discussion of examples and citations to all of the leading authorities, it will surely be an invaluable resource for judges, practitioners, and students alike.”
—D. Theodore Rave, George A. Butler Research Professor, University of Houston Law Center

“I have had the honor of leading and participating in some of the largest and most complicated MDLs in the past 20 years including Zyprexa, Vioxx , NFL Concussion Litigation, Volkswagen Clean Diesel, Syngenta Corn, and the Opioid Litigation. This tremendous resource drafted by Bob Klonoff should be within the grasp of any attorney handling complex class or mass cases whether or not they end up centralized in a MDL. Whether you’re a younger lawyer hoping to make his or her mark in this practice area or older seasoned lawyer who thinks you’ve seen it all, you need this book!”
—Christopher Seeger, Partner, Seeger Weiss LLP