January 06, 2017 Articles

Strategies for Early Dismissal of Meritless Cases

By Maxwell Herman

Young mass tort practitioners should understand the importance of identifying and seeking voluntary dismissal of meritless cases. For defense attorneys, voluntary dismissal of meritless cases avoids unnecessary and expensive motion practice, reduces improper settlement leverage, and validates the continued use of consolidated litigation (often criticized as maintaining frivolous claims). For plaintiffs’ attorneys, voluntary dismissal saves time and money otherwise spent opposing summary judgment on cases that cannot prevail at trial, increases actually injured clients’ recoveries, and avoids fee-shifting sanctions. More important, perhaps, proactively dismissing bad cases avoids drawing the ire of the court. A recent order in the Mentor Obtape multidistrict litigation (MDL) demonstrates why leaving meritless cases for the judge to deal with can be a bad idea.

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