Cottle orders represent a practical tool formulated by California courts for disposing of facially defective claims in multiplaintiff cases, particularly those lacking causation. Such orders can save time and money for parties and courts; however, using them effectively requires respecting both their strengths and limitations.
If your client is a defendant in a products liability, toxic tort, or other personal injury action involving multiple plaintiffs, among your top priorities will be obtaining early dismissal of as many nonmeritorious claims as possible. For example, if serious general causation issues call into question the plaintiffs' ability to connect the alleged exposure to the claimed injuries, you will want to challenge such claims as quickly and efficiently as possible and avoid awaiting an outcome at trial. Counsel for the plaintiffs, of course, must master and respond to such challenges.