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Heyburn to Chair Panel
Chief Judge John G. Heyburn II (W.D. Ky.) became the new chairman of the
Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation on June 14, 2007, succeeding
Judge William Terrell Hodges (M.D. Fla.). Hodges has served as chair of
the Panel since December 1, 2000.
Heyburn was appointed to the federal bench in 1992. He
served as chair of the Judicial Conference Committee on the Budget for
The Panel consists of seven sitting federal judges
appointed to serve by the Chief Justice. Under 28 U.S.C. § 1407, the
Panel determines whether civil actions pending in different federal
districts involve one or more common questions of fact, such that the
actions should be transferred to one federal district for coordinated or
consolidated pretrial proceedings. The Panel also selects the judge or
judges assigned to conduct such proceedings.
Centralization of cases is intended to avoid duplication of
discovery, prevent inconsistent pretrial rulings, and conserve the
resources of the parties, their counsel and the Judiciary.