The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation lives mainly to decide whether to group cases from around the country into big mega-cases for pretrial work — motions to dismiss, discovery, summary judgment motions — and, if so, which district judge to send each of the mega-cases to.
But what happens when the "transferee" judge finishes the pretrial work? Does she make rulings (partial final judgments under Rule 54(b)) that would allow all the cases to go up on appeal to the same court of appeals at the same time? Or does she simply send the cases that survived summary judgment back to the "transferor" courts in other court of appeals circuits and let the appeals from the ones that died a pretrial death go to a different court of appeals?
The Seventh Circuit held that the issue could've gone either way and that, because the transferee judge and the MDL Panel therefore had discretion on which way to go, Their Honors wouldn't second-guess their decision to remand. FedEx Ground Package Sys., Inc. v. U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litig., No. 11-2438 (7th Cir. Nov. 17, 2011).
The case, by the way, concerned claims by FedEx delivery people that FedEx wrongfully failed to treat them as employees instead of independent contractors under applicable state law.