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The United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML or the Panel) is a special body within the United States federal court system. It was established by Congress in 1968 under 28 U.S.C. ยง 1407, and has the authority to determine whether civil actions pending in two or more federal judicial districts should be transferred to a single federal district court for pretrial proceedings. If such cases are determined to involve one or more common questions of fact and are transferred, the Panel will then select the district court and assign a judge or judges to preside over the litigation. The purpose of the transfer or "centralization" process is to conserve the resources of the parties and their counsel, as well as the judiciary, thus avoiding duplication of discovery and preventing inconsistent pretrial rulings.

The Chief Justice of the United States appoints the members of the JPML, which is composed of seven district or court of appeals judges, each of whom must be from a different judicial circuit. In addition to their participation on the Panel, the members continue to serve as judges for the courts to which they were originally appointed. The Panel convenes hearings in various locations around the country to facilitate the participation of parties and their counsel. Washington, D.C.marker is the location of the Office of the Clerk of the Panel.

As of September 30, 2009, the Panel had transferred more than 320,000 lawsuits in more than 2,100 multidistrict litigations. These dockets encompass litigation categories as diverse as securities fraud, drugs and other products liability cases, intellectual property infringement, airplane crashes and employment practices.

Current composition of the Panel

Official Court Seal of the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation

The following members comprise the panel:

Name Court
John G. Heyburn II (Chairman) Western District of Kentucky
Robert L. Miller, Jr. Northern District of Indiana
Kathryn H. Vratil District of Kansas
David R. Hansen Eighth Circuit
W. Royal Furgeson, Jr. Northern District of Texas
Frank C. Damrell, Jr. Eastern District of California
David G. Trager Eastern District of New York

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