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Legal Tech Helps Weed Out Meritless Claims in Line with MDL Rule 16.1

SimplyConvert Jun 17, 2024
Legal technology can help weed out meritless claims, in line with MDL Rule 16.1

The newly adopted Rule 16.1 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is the first provision to specifically address multidistrict litigations (MDLs). The rule outlines procedures and guidelines for managing these cases, particularly the critical initial case management phase of an MDL. It aims to streamline those proceedings by encouraging the early exchange of information between parties to prevent insufficient or meritless claims and defenses from clogging these complex litigations.

Read more about Rule 16.1 in our recent blog, Rule 16.1: What it is and how attorneys can ensure compliance.

For compliance with Rule 16.1 – as well as for the long-term success of any given MDL – plaintiffs’ attorneys must be vigilant in preventing low-quality or insufficient claims from being filed that will affect the case as a whole. By employing legal technology, attorneys can simplify their claims authentication process, ensure only qualified claims make it to filing, and improve the litigation process for all parties involved.

Authenticating Claimants Using Legal Technology

Once an MDL is formed, a leadership group is selected by the Court overseeing the MDL to move the litigation forward on the plaintiff side. For leadership groups that prioritize a tech-forward approach, one of the first actions they take is determining the standardized criteria for all plaintiffs in the litigation. This can be updated later on if needed, but it is important to have a clear set of guidelines at the onset of a case to ensure high-quality claims are prioritized and questionable or insufficient claims are carefully vetted. Platforms such as SimplyConvert’s allow for prioritizing and sorting of claims and provide real-time reporting – features we believe to be critical to today’s mass tort litigations.  

The initial process for claim authentication through an online client portal includes:

  • Claimants providing the necessary information to meet the set requirements.
    • A claim is authenticated (or disqualified) based on information provided by the potential claimant and includes general biographical and other background information.
    • Specific details on exposure, usage, diagnosis, etc. are not verified at this stage, but later on in the process.
    • Importantly, claims that do not meet the previously agreed upon minimum requirements are not permitted to move on to the next step in the process, avoiding any potential headaches down the road. 
  • Automatic uploading of qualified claims to a secure database.
    • With the right client portal – such as SimplyConvert's CaseHQ™ – qualified claims can then be automatically uploaded to a secure, centralized database.
    • This database – whether in its entirety or with identifying information removed – can be accessed by the MDL leadership group, a certain subset of the involved plaintiffs’ attorneys, or by both sides of the case as well as the Court if needed. This flexibility allows for more transparency and efficiency, especially at the onset of an MDL.

Once a claim is authenticated, it can then be substantiated using similar legal technology to streamline the process. A best practice for the substantiation process is to require early proof from potential plaintiffs. In most cases, it is recommended that the plaintiffs’ leadership group agrees to the early information required for each claimant. This can include verification of a diagnosis, housing information or other background data, or proof of purchase of a product. 

Then, each individual attorney who is filing cases must determine with their client how much proof can be gathered from the claimant themselves versus their medical team, hospitals, insurance companies, etc. This information is uploaded through a secondary client screening in the same client portal as the claim authentication processed, which again allows for transparency and increased efficiency. Attorneys can trigger emails, texts, and push notifications to remind their clients to upload documents or complete additional information if needed as well.Copy of CaseHQ GIF

SimplyConvert's CaseHQ™ allows law firms to efficiently collect information from clients and access on-demand reports for immediate insights.

By taking advantage of the legal technology available to them, plaintiffs’ leadership groups and individual attorneys alike can ensure a more efficient and smoother litigation that puts the strongest cases front and center, eliminates any meritless claims before they sideline an otherwise strong MDL, and aligns with Rule 16.1.

If you’re interested in learning more about how SimplyConvert can help MDL leadership teams comply with Rule 16.1, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team.