Projects

James F. Humphreys Complex Litigation Center

The center conducts studies and issues guidelines and best practices, which improve the administration of justice in complex litigation. These projects support or follow up on the bench-bar conferences.

Diversity and Excellence: Guidelines and Best Practices for Judges Appointing Lawyers to Leadership Positions in MDL and Class Action Litigation: (Full Report) (3-Page Summary Report and Signatories List)  The center issued the Inclusivity and Diversity Guidelines and Best Practices on March 15, 2021. They offer concrete suggestions for giving lawyers across the profession an equal opportunity to be appointed to MDL and class action leadership positions. 

More than 100 law firms, five major bar organizations, and five companies support the Inclusivity and Diversity Guidelines and Best Practices as "Founding Signatories." The center is accepting new signatories for the next 12 months. Please send your request to be included as a "Signatory" to John Rabiej at [email protected].

Discovery Proportionality Model: A New Framework: The New Framework is a groundbreaking tool that provides key information to help lawyers and judges begin assessing Rule 26(b)(1) proportionality discovery based on objective data applied under a systematic process.  

Under the New Framework:

  1. The producing party completes a heat map that categorizes custodians by priority along with the degree of burden in accessing information from their data sources, e.g., email, social media, and mobile devices;
  2. A general cost table is provided that estimates discovery cost for custodians and their data sources based on projected typical volumes of gigabytes from each data source as well as estimated per gigabyte costs projected for each data source; and
  3. A line-by-line cost calculator shows how the general cost estimates were computed, which allows users to adjust the estimates of volume and hourly rates by line item, if appropriate, to address individual circumstances.

The New Framework model will be issued for public comment for a period of eight weeks in the summer or early fall of 2021. Please check back frequently for updated information. Here are links to a list of the drafting-team members, a draft of the model, which contains an illustrated heat map plotting custodians by priority and degree of burden in retrieving information from their data sources, and a Cost Prediction Calculator, which contains an excel spreadsheet with eight separate tabs, including a standard unit per gigabyte cost table for five common data sources.

Class-Action Best Practices: Following its inaugural November 2020 class-action annual-review conference, the center formed three teams of 35 volunteer lawyers to draft best practices addressing six issues identified at the conference. The best practices will be the first installment in a new compendium of class-action best practices, prepared under the center’s auspices.  Additional compendium installments will be added following every annual class action conference.

Mass-Tort MDL Best Practices: Mass-Tort MDL Best Practices:  Following its inaugural March 2021 Mass-Torts MDL annual-review conference, the center identified issues that may be suitable for best practices.  Teams of volunteer lawyers and judges have been formed to draft best practices addressing four topics, including: (1) interlocutory appeals: (2) census orders; (3) centralized information platform; and (4) ensuring dissemination of adequate information to all parties for settlement purposes.   The draft best practices will be issued for an eight-week public-comment period and reviewed at the center’s Second Annual Mass-Tort MDL Conference on June 9-10, 2022 (tentative dates).

If you have an interest in joining one of the drafting teams please contact  [email protected].  The list of the volunteers is below. 

 

Team 1 -- Interlocutory Appeals (Three Subtopics)

Drafters

Sean Wajert  (Lead) – Shook, Hardy & Bacon

Andrew Childers – Childers, Schlueter & Smith, LLC

Lexi Hazam – Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein

Larry Hill – Moore, Hill & Westmoreland, P.A.

Alan Morrison – GW Law School

 

Reviewers

Geoffrey Coan – Hinshaw& Culbertson, LLP

Edward Cooper – University of Michigan

Rakesh Kilaru – Wilkinson Stekloff, LLP

Paul La Fata – Dechert, LLP

 

Team 2 -- Census Orders, e.g., If the judge presiding over a mass-tort MDL approved the use of a “census order,” it should include a provision requiring a showing of evidence or injury and exposure.

 

Drafters

Lauren Colton (Lead)- Hogan Lovells

Jessica Brennan – Faegre Drinker, Biddle & Reath, LLP

Angela Browning – Litigation Management, Inc.

Courtney Enloe – 3M

Lisa Gorshe – Johnson Becker, PLLC

Sarah London – Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein

Ellen Presly -- Ferrer Poirot Wansbrough Feller Daniel

Trevor Rockstad – Davis & Crump, P.C.

Alan Rothman - Sidley & Austin, LLP

Mike Zogby – Faegre Drinker, Biddle & Reath, LLP

Julia Zousmer – King & Spalding

 

Reviewers

Kimberly Branscome – Dechert, LLP

Orran Brown – BrownGreer

Brian Jackson – Wilkinson Stekloff, LLP

Rakesh Kilaru – Bartlit Beck, LLP

Kapar Stoffelmayr – Bartlit Beck, LLP

 

Team 3, Centralized Information Platform, e.g, In a mass-tort MDL, the court should order the parties to submit key information and supporting evidence about individual cases to a centralized information system, which collects data from individual parties on a shared platform available to all with the capability to designate certain data confidential.

 

Drafters

Orran Brown (Lead) – BrownGreer

Bryan Aylstock – Aylstock, Witkin, Kreis & Overholtz, PLLC

Paul Boehm – Williams & Connolly

Angela Browning – Litigation Management, Inc.

Brian Jackson – Butler Snow, LLP

Kelly McNabb – Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein

Dustin Mire - Postlethwaite & Netterville

 

Reviewers

Hon. Gary Jones – N.D. Florida, U.S. Courts

Rakesh Kilaru – Wilkinson Stekloff, LLP

Hon. Vaughn Walker -

Mike Zogby - Faegre Drinker

 

Team 4 -- Settlement Fairness, e.g., "A judge presiding over a mass-tort MDL should ensure that parties have been provided adequate information and given a reasonable opportunity to fully assess the terms of a proposed settlement, which was negotiated by plaintiff lead counsel as it pertains to their clients." 

 

Drafters

Tobi Millrood (Lead)- Pogust Millrood, LLC

Brian Barr – Levin Papantonio Rafferty  

Chris Campbell – DLA Piper

Brendan Krasinski – DLA Piper

Patrick Luff – Fears Nachawati Law Firm

Ellen Presly -- Ferrer Poirot Wansbrough Feller Daniel

 

Reviewers

Richard Arsenault – Neblett, Beard & Arsenault

Hon. Royal Furgeson – Furgeson Law

Brian Goldstein – Cellino Law

Lance Harke – Harke, PA

Rakesh Kilaru – Wilkinson Stekloff

Patrick Reilly – Faegre Drinker

Genevieve Zimmermann – Meshbesher & Spence