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Mark Peterson's and Molly Selvin's interesting article, Mass Justice: The Limited and Unlimited Power of Courts, I deals with the role of courts as participants in the resolution of mass tort cases. Peterson and Selvin claim, in particular, that courts have interests in aggregating litigation, in part because judges wish to reduce the boredom and the imposition on their calendars that they would face if forced to adjudicate individually large numbers of similar claims such as those involving asbestos and Bendectin. "Faced with mass tort litigation," they write, "judges are not simply neutral arbiters; rather, they have strong personal incentives to speed the judicial process, save costs and labor, and reduce redundancy." There is an obvious logic to their analysis, and the topic they have chosen is important and well deserving of their attention. Here, I wish merely to note a few reservations about this article with which I, on the whole, largely agree. My reservations stem from my suspicion that the issue of judicial interest in aggregation is a bit more complicated than Peterson and Selvin let on.
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