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Bellwether trial

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Definition Edit

A bellwether trial (also called a bellwether case) is "a test case. ‘Bellwether’ trials should produce representative verdicts and settlements."[1]

Overview Edit

"The term 'bellwether' is 'derived from the ancient practice of belling a wether (a male sheep) selected to lead his flock. The ultimate success of the wether selected to wear the bell was determined by whether the flock had confidence that the wether would not lead them astray, and so it is in the mass tort context.'"[2]

Bellwether trials, which are most frequently used in multi-district mass tort cases, are recognized as an effective means for a trial judge to enhance settlement prospects or resolve common issues or claims in complex litigations.[3]

References Edit

  1. In re Tylenol (Acetaminophen) Mktg., Sales Practices, and Prods. Liab. Litig., 2015 WL 2417411, at *1 & n.3 (E.D. Pa. May 20, 2015).
  2. Grant Heilman Photography, Inc. v. The McGraw-Hill Companies, __ F.Supp.3d __, Slip Op., at 3 n.2 (E.D. Pa. June 30, 2015) (citation omitted).
  3. Id. See, e.g., In re Chevron U.S.A., Inc., 109 F.3d 1016, 1019-20 (5th Cir. 1997) (full-text) ("[T]he results of such trials can be beneficial for litigants who desire to settle such claims by providing information on the value of the cases as reflected by jury verdicts. Common issues or even general liability may also be resolved in a bellwether context in appropriate cases.")

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