The rise of political subdivisions as mass action and MDL plaintiffs

Recent years have seen an explosion around a relatively new front in U.S. mass and multidistrict litigation: claims asserted by cities, counties, towns, and other state political subdivisions – often represented by outside counsel on a contingency fee basis – against corporate defendants across a broad range of industries.

While opioid-related claims have attracted the most attention in this space, political subdivision lawsuits are popping up in everything from environmental to e-cigarette cases. Indeed, such lawsuits represent the most prominent current – and likely future – trend in mass litigation.

As discussed below, the resulting legal and practical implications are significant and should be monitored carefully nationwide.

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