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September 13, 1999

H.R. 2112 - Multidistrict, Multiparty, Multiforum Trial
Jurisdiction Act of 1999

(Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and 2 co-sponsors)

The Administration supports H.R. 2112. The Administration generally disfavors expansion of the jurisdiction of the already overloaded Federal courts, diverting their attention from criminal cases and other Federal matters. H.R. 2112, however, affects federal jurisdiction in two separate but narrowly tailored ways.

First, H.R. 2112 would permit the district courts to whom litigation has been transferred by the Multidistrict Litigation Panel to retain jurisdiction over cases beyond the pre-trial stage. This component of the bill does not expand the jurisdiction of the Federal courts.

Second, H.R. 2112 would expand federal jurisdiction to reach litigation arising from single-event mass accidents, such as airplane crashes, as long as the parties had "minimal diversity" and suffered at least $75,000 in damages. Thus, this second component of H.R. 2112 is carefully targeted to address special issues where the exercise of Federal jurisdiction will markedly increase the fair and efficient resolution of selected cases.

Each of these components in H.R. 2112 responds to a specifically defined and circumscribed problem that can and would be solved by modifying federal jurisdiction.