Shook Associates Gregg Webb and Edd Gaus have authored an article for the American Bar Association Section of Litigation describing a litigation tool called Cottle orders, which can be used to dispose of facially defective claims in multiplaintiff California cases. As Webb and Gaus explain, Cottle orders are "case management orders fashioned by California courts requiring plaintiffs to submit prima facie evidence of certain elements of their claims (usually general or specific causation) to demonstrate their viability or face exclusion of evidence at trial."
The article details Cottle and its legacy in other cases to identify important factors to consider when contemplating the use of a Cottle order. "Cottle orders represent a practical tool for disposing of facially defective claims, particularly those lacking causation, with potential cost and resource savings for both parties and the courts," Webb and Gaus write. "However, effective use of such orders requires respecting both their strengths and limitations."