Ethical Issues in Mass Tort Plaintiffs’ Representation: Beyond the Aggregate Settlement Rule

By Nancy J. Moore

Those who have addressed ethics issues for plaintiffs’ lawyers in mass tort litigation have focused on possible reform of the aggregate settlement rule to facilitate global settlements. This Article addresses a broader range of ethical issues, including (1) application of the general conflicts of interest rule to both client-client and client-lawyer conflicts; (2) unresolved issues concerning the interpretation of the current aggregate settlement rule, including the need to disclose client names and the applicability of the rule to court-approved settlements and formula or matrix allocations; and (3) the ability of lawyers to voluntarily withdraw from representing plaintiffs who reject an offer of settlement.