2. The author raises an alternative thought. Rather than looking at settlements on the lawyer's web site, ask the lawyer: How many cases have you tried to verdict*? Well now that is a really great question with lots of implications that might get raised in a discussion re the strategy employed by the litigation firm.
If the intention of the MDL is try a few bellwether cases** and then settle based on what they found in those cases, well, I’m not sure it matters much how many cases the law firm have brought to verdict because there might not be a need for future trials albeit, the option is there to continue the litigation if your lawyer is not satisfied with any settlement reached in the Bellwether case. I suppose any lawyer you choose should prepare any case as through it will go to a jury. If the MDL settlement is unsatisfactory, you are gonna be up the creek if your lawyer has no significant track record working in obtaining verdicts in jury trials.
*verdict - the decision of a jury after a trial, which must be accepted by the trial judge to be final.
**By definition Bellwether is an indicator of future trends. Courts utilize a bellwether approach when large numbers of plaintiffs are proceeding on the same theory or claim and there is no other feasible way for the courts to handle the enormous caseload. This approach has been used in many cases including asbestos litigation. A group of plaintiffs are chosen to represent all the plaintiffs. The issues for trial should concern common claims or theories among all the plaintiffs. These representative cases go for trial and the results act as the bellwether for the other plaintiffs’ trials. The verdict from this grouping is extrapolated to the remaining plaintiffs’ cases. The actual results may be utilized for valuing groups of claims in settlements. The plaintiffs can also choose to continue with their own individual trial.