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Closing Indiana's largest MDL line

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Indiana Lawyer Rehearing

The final case in the Bridgestone/Firestone multi-district litigation has come to a close in the Southern District of Indiana, putting an end to a line of litigation that began more than a decade ago.

On May 25, U.S. Judge Sarah Evans Barker dismissed Gwendolyn Scott, et. al. v. Bridgestone American Tire Operations, et al., No. 1:10-CV-5853, that fell under the MDL umbrella in the tires product liability litigation. During the life of this MDL, 853 individual cases were transferred to the court and 14,087 docket entries were made since Oct. 26, 2000.

The Bridgestone/Firestone group has been the largest MDL action in Indiana, arising from allegations that a design defect in Ford Explorer tires caused the treads to separate prematurely and lead to vehicle rollovers. Plaintiffs came from all over the United States and foreign countries. The Gwendolyn Scott case, received in January 2010, was the final case sent to the Southern District.

Another case – Gonzalez-Servin v. Ford Motor Company, et al, No. 11-1665 – remains before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The MDL was initially assigned to Judge Barker and Magistrate Judge V. Sue Shields, then later saw involvement by Magistrates Jane Magnus-Stinson and Debra McVicker Lynch. The latter was appointed as special master on the cases Nov. 1, 2000, and eventually became the assigned magistrate after joining the bench in 2008.

Rehearing: "In the news, and onto the docket"  IL Feb. 2 - 15, 2011

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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