The Multidistrict, Multiparty, Multiforum Jurisdiction Act of 2002 has great potential for expediting The Station fire cases. The object of the Act is to place all of the cases from a mass disaster before a single judge, who can supervise discovery, then try the issue of liability, and either try or remand the issue of damages. How this new procedural tool will function is uncertain. The Act consolidates the power in one court to either urge the parties to accept a global settlement, or send the unresolved cases to trial. There are many unanswered questions. It is up to judges and lawyers to make the statute work within the structures of the American system of litigation. Whether the trial judge will be a federal judge in Rhode Island or Judge Gibney or both remains to be seen. Let's hope the system will create some alternative procedures to bring these cases to a satisfactory solution.
25 W. New Eng. L. Rev. 243 (2003)