Technology

Because cooperation is primarily about communicating, technology can be enormously beneficial in multijurisdiction litigation by making information exchange easy and allowing people who are far apart to work together. Below are some technology-based tools for enhancing communication.

  • Listserv.  A listserv is a list of email addresses, centrally maintained.  If someone sends an email to the listserv, the email will go to every email address on the list, even if the sender does not know those addresses.  Through a listserv, judges with related litigation can keep in touch and circulate key documents, such as scheduling orders, in their cases.
  • Audio and video conferencing.  High quality video conferencing is second only to travel in its ability to bring people around the same—here virtual—table.  Cost typically is the only downside.  Web-based services may be less expensive than stand-alone video conferencing systems.  For hearings and “science day” presentations, video may be worth the cost.  In other situations, audio is often perfectly adequate, and it is simpler and cheaper.  For conference calls, it may be wise to choose a format in which the caller pays, not the organizer.
  • E-service providers. These services can make the dockets of multiple cases available on one website to all parties and judges.  Jurisdictional differences may affect the feasibility of this feature; some jurisdictions require using certain providers, while others forbid a judge from naming any particular provider.
  • Litigation website.  A court may create, or direct the parties to create, a website to house pretrial orders, transcripts, and other key documents.  This is fairly common in large federal MDLs, and in much complex state litigation.  Such websites enable other courts to keep abreast of developments. E-service providers can create and support a litigation website for multiple courts.
  • Web-based calendars.  Being able to layer calendared items from multiple proceedings onto one calendar can facilitate coordination of scheduling.

See examples and model orders

See sample MDL websites

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