Appendix 2.3: Excerpts from In Re Estate of Marcos Human Rights Litigation, 910 F. Supp. 1460 (MDL 840)

Kasarinlan Philippine Journal of Third World Studies


This opinion affirms the legality of the use of random sampling in determining whether the class of human rights violation victims that filed suit against (the estate of) Ferdinand Marcos, consolidated as MDL 840, was entitled to damages. The opinion explains that random sampling was done for pragmatic reasons—how was a jury supposed to hear the testimony of almost 10,000 plaintiffs? The Marcos camp claimed that this violated their right to due process—they believed that all claimants had to give testimony. A pragmatic reading of the United States constitution shot down that defense (which, as appendix 5.6 shows, was typical of the technical-over-factual strategy adopted by the Marcoses). The first footnote of the opinion also explains that some of the claims were declared prima facie invalid in 1994 (twenty of these rejected claims were eventually reinstated). Thus, the entire litigation process was far from arbitrary.

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