In this Law360 Expert Analysis articleGareth Evans and Nick Snavely discuss a recent U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit decision that has important implications for all aspects of multidistrict litigation proceedings, particularly discovery.  In the National Prescription Opiate Litigation MDL, the Sixth Circuit held that while courts have the latitude to achieve efficiencies in MDLs, they must do so within the limits of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.  The Sixth Circuit minced no words in declaring that the federal rules “have the same force of law that any statute does.”  

This holding is particularly crucial concerning discovery. Courts in MDLs have been known to ignore or bend discovery rules in the perceived service of efficiencies in the overall MDL.  The Sixth Circuit’s holding that an MDL court may not “distort or disregard the rules of law applicable to [all] cases” provides support for counsel to argue for proper application of the federal rules in all aspects of the proceedings, especially discovery and case management.

Read the full article here.  

Gareth Evans is a partner and Nick Snavely is counsel at Redgrave LLP.  They can be reached at and  The views expressed in this article are theirs and not necessarily those of the Firm or its clients.