In 1993, the volume and complexity of asbestos litigation led a judicial panel on multi-district litigation to transfer all asbestos claims filed in Federal courts, but not yet on trial, to the eastern district of Pennsylvania.
After this consolidation, counsel for the plaintiffs and the defendant manufacturers reached a partial global settlement: That a class consisting of all individuals with potential asbestos claims who had not yet filed lawsuits would be certified pursuant to section 23-b of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, or FRCP, for purposes of settlement only.
The proposed settlement created an administrative structure which provided set compensation for certain asbestos-related diseases.
The District Court approved the plan, and certified the proposed class. But the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit vacated the lower court's order, finding that the requirements of class certification had not been met, under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.