Lone Pine Orders: A Critical Examination and Empirical Evaluation

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Invented in 1986 and now a prominent feature of the mass tort landscape, Lone Pine orders require plaintiffs to provide to the court prima facie evidence of injury, exposure, and specific causation, sometimes early, and usually on pain of dismissal. Though they’ve taken root in a hazy space outside of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, these case management orders are frequently issued, and they play an important role in the contemporary litigation and resolution of mass torts. But although Lone Pine orders are common, potent, and increasingly controversial, they have mostly fallen under the academic radar. Even their key features are described inconsistently by commentators and courts. This Essay pulls back the curtain. Drawing on a unique hand-coded dataset, this Essay describes the origin and evolution of Lone Pine orders, sketches poles of the debate surrounding their use, and offers empirical evidence regarding their entry, content, timing, and effect.

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