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July 2007

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This article is in the news archives --- for current news go to the Third Branch News.


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 seven years.

The Panel consists of seven sitting federal judges appointed to serve by the Chief Justice. Under 28 U.S.C. ยง 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.