Where Equity Meets Expertise: Re-Thinking Appellate Review in Complex Litigation
The field of complex litigation continues to grow as both an academic study and a popular phenomenon. One cannot escape news accounts of major class action litigation, and lawyers continue to find new ways to push the outer bounds of civil litigation practices to accommodate large-scale disputes involving multiple claims or parties. Many question whether traditional procedures can or should apply to these cases. Drawing on this well-recognized procedural tension, this Article explores the relationship between trial and appellate courts in complex litigation and argues for a revised standard of appellate review for trial court decisions affecting the party structure of a lawsuit. The Article examines historical equity practices and modern principles of administrative law to explain the function of a trial court in complex litigation and to justify the form of appellate scrutiny that is applicable to that role.