Multidistrict Litigation

Posted On: July 20, 2007 by Michael J. Hassen Email This Post

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Class Action Defense Cases-In re TJX Security Breach: Judicial Panel On Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) Grants Plaintiff's Motion To Centralize Class Action Lawsuits And Agrees District of Massachusetts Is Appropriate Transferee Court

Judicial Panel Grants Request, Unopposed by Defense, for Pretrial Coordination of Class Action Lawsuits Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 in the District of Massachusetts

Six class action lawsuits (four in Massachusetts, and one in Alabama and Puerto Rico) were filed against TJX and others seeking damages arising out of the electronic theft of confidential customer data from TJX’s computer system. In re In re The TJX Cos., Inc., Customer Data Security Breach Litig., 493 F.Supp.2d 1382, 1382 (Jud.Pan.Mult.Lit. 2007). Plaintiff's lawyer in one of the Massachusetts class actions filed a motion with the Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) requesting centralization of the class action lawsuits pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407; defense attorneys did not oppose centralization and all responding plaintiffs concurred that centralization in the District of Massachusetts was appropriate. Id., at 1382-83. The Judicial Panel granted the motion to centralize the class actions and agreed that the District of Massachusetts was the proper transferee court because "(i) the consensus of the parties favors or does not oppose centralization there, (ii) many actions are already pending there, and (iii) TJX is headquartered in Massachusetts and documents and witnesses will likely be found there." Id., at 1383.

Download PDF file of In re TJX Transfer Order

Posted On: July 13, 2007 by Michael J. Hassen Email This Post

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Class Action Defense Cases-In re Mirapex: Judicial Panel On Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) Grants Defense Motion To Centralize Class Action Litigation But Selects District of Minnesota As Transferee Court

Judicial Panel Grants Defense Request, Opposed by Plaintiffs, for Pretrial Coordination of Class Action Lawsuits Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 but Rejects Defense Request to Transfer Class Actions to Southern District of New York or to District of Connecticut

More than fifty (50) products liability class action lawsuits were filed, the vast majority in the District of Minnesota, against various defendants alleging adverse side effects from use of the drug Mirapex, and challenging the timeliness and adequacy of defendants' warnings concerning those side effects. In re Mirapex Products Liab. Litig., 493 F.Supp.2d 1376, 2007 WL 1853953, *1 (Jud.Pan.Mult.Lit. 2007). Defense attorneys for the common defendants filed a motion with the Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) requesting centralization of the class actions pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 in the Southern District of New York or in the District of Connecticut. The plaintiffs’ lawyers who responded to the motion opposed pretrial coordination, but argued alternatively that the District of Minnesota was the appropriate transferee court, id. The Judicial Panel granted the motion to centralize the class actions and selected the District of Minnesota because "i) this district has the most advanced of the 58 actions; ii) the judge there has had an opportunity to become familiar with the litigation; and iii) Minneapolis is easily accessible." Id.

Download PDF file of In re Mirapex Transfer Order

Posted On: July 6, 2007 by Michael J. Hassen Email This Post

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Class Action Defense Cases-In re Kugel Mesh: Judicial Panel On Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) Rejects Defense Opposition To Centralization Of Class Action Lawsuits And Selects District of Rhode Island As Transferee Court

Judicial Panel Grants Plaintiffs’ Requests, Opposed by Defense and Other Plaintiff Lawyers, for Pretrial Coordination of Class Action Lawsuits Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 and Sends Class Actions to District of Rhode Island

Thirteen (13) class action lawsuits were filed in 13 different courts located in 11 different states against various defendants, including C.R. Bard and its wholly-owned subsidiary Davol (common defendants in all class actions) and Surgical Sense and WCO Medical Products (defendants in only one class action), asserting products liability claims allegedly caused by defects in various models of hernia patches manufactured and sold by Bard, Davol or Surgical Sense. In re Kugel Mesh Hernia Patch Products Liab. Litig., ___ F.Supp.2d ___, 2007 WL 1853819, *1 (Jud.Pan.Mult.Lit. June 22, 2007). Plaintiffs’ lawyers in the Alabama and Rhode Island actions moved the Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) an order centralizing the class actions for pretrial purposes pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407, each requesting transfer to the district court in which their action already was pending, id. The Tennessee plaintiffs opposed pretrial coordination entirely, while the Arkansas plaintiffs supported centralization only as to those class actions that contained certain claims but otherwise opposed centralization, id. All defense attorneys opposed centralization, alternatively arguing for transfer to Arkansas or Missouri, id. Other plaintiffs in various districts supported transfer to various districts and under various circumstances, providing the Judicial Panel with no consensus from which to work, id. The Judicial Panel granted the motion to centralize the class actions over the objection of defense and certain plaintiff lawyers, finding that “all actions involve common questions of fact” in that they “share factual questions concerning such matters as the design, manufacture, safety, testing, marketing and performance” of hernia patches manufacture and sold by Bard, Davol and Surgical Sense, id.

The Judicial Panel summarized defense arguments in opposition to centralization of the class action lawsuits as follows: “common facts do not predominate among the actions, as the actions involve different models of hernia patches and allege various types of defects; the number of pending actions does not warrant centralization; alternatives to centralization are available; and the pending actions differ substantially in the causes of action pleaded, and thus the evidence required. Additionally, the parties to the Western District of Arkansas action argue that the hernia patch at issue in that action was manufactured and distributed by a different, unrelated company. Plaintiffs to the Arkansas actions argue that two types of actions should not be included in MDL-1842 proceedings: (1) those actions that do not allege that the recoil ring is defective; and (2) those actions that arise from a procedure, or the installation of a hernia patch, that may create a higher risk of infection in the patient.” In re Kugel Mesh, at *2. The Panel rejected these arguments, explaining that “Section 1407 does not require a complete identity or even a majority of common factual or legal issues as a prerequisite to transfer.” Id. The Panel further explained at *2,

Continue reading "Class Action Defense Cases-In re Kugel Mesh: Judicial Panel On Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) Rejects Defense Opposition To Centralization Of Class Action Lawsuits And Selects District of Rhode Island As Transferee Court" »

Posted On: June 29, 2007 by Michael J. Hassen Email This Post

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Class Action Defense Cases-In re Motor Fuel: Judicial Panel On Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) Grants Defense Motion To Centralize Class Action Lawsuits But Selects District of Kansas As Transferee Court

Judicial Panel Grants Defense Request for Pretrial Coordination of Class Action Lawsuits Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 but Rejects Defense Request to Transfer Class Actions to District of New Jersey

Twelve putative class action lawsuits were filed in seven federal district courts (four in Missouri, two in Kansas and Oklahoma, and one in California, Kentucky, New Jersey and Tennessee) against more than 100 oil companies, distributors and retailers “relating to the sale of motor fuel at temperatures greater than 60 degrees Fahrenheit.” In re Motor Fuel Temperature Sales Prac. Litig., 493 F.Supp.2d 1365, 2007 WL 1806043, *1 (Jud.Pan.Mult.Lit. 2007). Defense attorneys for three oil companies filed a motion with the Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) requesting centralization of the class actions pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 in the District of New Jersey. All plaintiff lawyers agreed that pretrial coordination was appropriate, as did dozens of additional defense attorneys, but they could not agree upon the appropriate transferee court, “variously support[ing] selection of the Northern District of California, the Southern District of Florida, the District of Kansas, the Western District of Missouri, the District of New Jersey, the Western District of Oklahoma or the Middle District of Tennessee as transferee district.” Id. Defense attorneys for two oil companies opposed centralization at all, but alternatively argued that the class actions should be transferred to the District of New Jersey, id.

The Judicial Panel granted the defense motion to centralize the class action lawsuits, rejecting “the arguments of the two opposing defendants that the lack of identity among the defendants in these actions warrants a different result.” In re Motor Fuel, at *1. However, the Panel selected the District of Kansas because “no district stands out as the geographic focal point for this nationwide docket” and, accordingly, the Judicial Panel selected “a transferee judge with the time and experience to steer this litigation on a prudent course and sitting in a district with the capacity to handle this litigation.” Id., at *2.

Download PDF file In re Motor Fuel Transfer Order

Posted On: June 8, 2007 by Michael J. Hassen Email This Post

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Class Action Defense Cases-In re Pilgrim’s Pride: Judicial Panel On Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) Grants Defense Motion To Centralize Class Action Litigation And Selects Western District of Arkansas As Transferee Court

Judicial Panel Grants Defense Request, Unopposed by Plaintiffs, for Pretrial Coordination of Class Action Lawsuits Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 but Elects to Transfer Class Actions to Western District of Arkansas

Five class action lawsuits (two in Alabama, and one in Arkansas, Tennessee and Texas) were filed against Pilgrim’s Pride by current and former employees alleging violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). In re Pilgrim’s Pride Fair Labor Standards Act Litig., 489 F.Supp.2d 1381, 1381 (Jud.Pan.Mult.Lit. May 10, 2007). Defense attorneys filed a motion with the Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) requesting centralization of the class actions pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 in either the Eastern District of Texas or the Western District of Arkansas; plaintiffs agreed that pretrial coordination was appropriate, but disagreed with the defense and with each other as to the appropriate transferee court. Id. The Judicial Panel granted the motion to centralize the class action lawsuits, finding that “[t]he actions share questions of fact arising out of similar allegations that certain employees of pilgrim’s Pride are entitled to compensation under the [FLSA].” Id. The Panel selected the Western District of Arkansas as the transferee court because it did not have any other MDL cases pending and its docket permits it to bring to bear the resources necessary to manage the class action litigation, and because the Arkansas court enjoyed wide, if not unanimous, support of the parties. Id., at 1381-82.

Download PDF file of In re Pilgrim's Pride Transfer Order

Posted On: June 1, 2007 by Michael J. Hassen Email This Post

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Class Action Defense Cases-In re Imagitas: Judicial Panel On Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) Grants Defense Motion To Centralize Class Action Litigation But Selects Middle District Of Florida As Transferee Court

Judicial Panel Grants Defense Request for Pretrial Coordination of Class Action Lawsuits Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 but Agrees with Plaintiffs’ Request to Transfer Class Actions to Middle District of Florida

Eight nationwide and statewide class action lawsuits were filed against Imagitas arising out of “the propriety of Imagitas’s performance of certain contracts involving the departments of motor vehicles of six states” alleging that the company violated the federal Drivers’ Privacy Protection Act, 18 U.S.C. §§ 2721 et seq. In re Imagitas, Inc., Drivers’ Privacy Protection Act Litig., 486 F.Supp.2d 1371 (Jud.Pan.Mult.Lit. May 8, 2007) [Slip Opn., at 1-2]. Defense attorneys filed a motion with the Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) requesting centralization of the class actions pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 in the Northern District of Ohio; while some class action plaintiffs favored centralization and others opposed it, all responding plaintiffs argued that if the motion was granted then the class action should be transferred to the Middle District of Florida. Id., at 1. The Judicial Panel rejected objections to coordination of the class actions, explaining that the lawsuits involve “competing class allegations and involve allegations that could spawn challenging procedural questions and pose the risk of inconsistent and/or conflicting rulings.” Id., at 2. Accordingly, the Judicial Panel granted the defense motion to centralize the class actions, but rejected the proposed transferee court; rather, the Panel agreed with the class action plaintiffs that the Middle District of Florida was the appropriate court because “it “was the first action filed, [and] is relatively more procedurally advanced than the other actions." Id.

Download PDF file of In re Imagitas Transfer Order

Posted On: May 25, 2007 by Michael J. Hassen Email This Post

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Class Action Defense Cases-In re Midland National Life: Judicial Panel On Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) Grants Motion To Centralize Class Action Lawsuits But Selects Central District of California As Transferee Court

Judicial Panel Grants Request, Unopposed by Defense, for Pretrial Coordination of Class Action Lawsuits Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 but Rejects Moving Plaintiff's Request to Transfer Class Actions to Southern District of Iowa

Class action lawsuits were filed in Iowa and California federal courts against Midland National Life Insurance Company alleging deceptive marketing and sale of annuities to seniors. In re Midland Nat’l Life Ins. Co. Annuity Sales Prac. Litig., 484 F.Supp.2d 1355, 1356 (Jud.Pan.Mult.Lit. May, 2 2007). Plaintiff’s lawyer in the Iowa class action filed a motion with the Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) requesting centralization of the class actions pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 in the Southern District of Iowa; defense attorneys agreed that pretrial coordination of the class actions was appropriate and agreed with the proposed transferee court. Id. The California plaintiffs did not oppose centralization of the class action lawsuits but argued that the cases should be transferred to the Central District of California. Id. The Judicial Panel granted the motion to centralize the class actions, and concluded that while either of the federal court would be an appropriate transferee court, the class action litigation should be centralized in the Central District of California “because the California action appears to be slightly broader and somewhat more procedurally advanced than the Iowa action.” Id.

Download PDF file of In re Midland National Life Transfer Order

Posted On: May 18, 2007 by Michael J. Hassen Email This Post

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Class Action Defense Cases—In re TFT-LCD: Judicial Panel On Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) Grants Motion To Centralize Class Action Litigation And Selects Northern District of California As Transferee Court

Judicial Panel Grants Request for Pretrial Coordination of Class Action Lawsuits Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 in the Northern District of California, Rejecting Request of Separately Moving and Non-Moving Plaintiffs to Transfer Class Actions to Alternative Districts

Twenty federal antitrust class action lawsuits were filed in four different states against various defendants alleging a “conspiracy to fix the price of thin film transistor-liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD) panels, which are used in computer monitors, flat panel television sets, and other electronic devices”; the majority of these class actions – 13 of the 20 – were filed in the Northern District of California, and three of the class actions were filed in the District of New Jersey. In re TFT-LCD (Flat Panel) Antitrust Litig., 483 F.Supp.2d 1353, 1353 (Jud.Pan.Mult.Lit. 2007). Plaintiffs’ lawyers in 8 of the Northern District of California class actions filed a motion with the Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 requesting centralization of the class action litigation in that district; however, plaintiff’s lawyer in one of the New Jersey cases moved the Panel for centralization in that district. Id. None of the parties opposed pretrial coordination of the class action lawsuits, but they did not agree on the appropriate transferee court. As the Panel summarized, “The majority support selection of the Northern District of California as transferee forum, while others urge the Panel to choose the District of New Jersey, the Southern District of New York, or the Western District of Washington.” The Judicial Panel granted the motion to centralize the class actions and concluded that the Northern District of California is the appropriate transferee court because "over 50 of the actions of which the Panel has been notified have been brought in that district, and it appears to be somewhat more conveniently located for the significant number of Asia-based defendants." Id., at 1354.

Download PDF file of In re TFT-LCD (Flat Panel) Antitrust Litigation Transfer Order

Posted On: May 11, 2007 by Michael J. Hassen Email This Post

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Class Action Defense Cases—In re Orthopaedic Implant: Judicial Panel On Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) Grants Defense Motion To Centralize Class Action Litigation In Southern District of Indiana As Transferee Court

Judicial Panel Grants Defense Request, Unopposed by Plaintiffs, for Pretrial Coordination of Class Action Lawsuits Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 of Class Action Lawsuits Alleging Antitrust Conspiracy

Four federal antitrust class action lawsuits, two in Tennessee and two in Indiana, were filed against various defendants alleging that they “engaged in a conspiracy to artificially increase, maintain, and/or stabilize prices of orthopaedic implants.” In re Orthopaedic Implant Device Antitrust Litig., 483 F.Supp.2d 1355 (Jud.Pan.Mult.Lit. 2007). Defense attorneys for several of the defendants – specifically, Zimmer Holdings, Zimmer, Inc., Stryker Corp., Biomet, DePuy Orthopaedics and/or DePuy, Inc., Johnson & Johnson, and Smith & Nephew plc and Smith & Nephew, Inc., id., at 1355 n.2 – filed a motion with the Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) requesting centralization of the class actions pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 in the Southern District of Indiana; plaintiffs’ lawyers did not oppose the motion, and agreed as well to centralization in the Northern District of Indiana. Id. The Judicial Panel granted the motion to centralize the class actions and agreed that the Southern District of Indiana was an appropriate transferee court, noting that it is the district “where related grand jury proceedings are located and the first-filed action is pending, [and] enjoys the support of all parties.” Id.

Download PDF file of In re Orthopaedic Implant Transfer Order

Posted On: May 8, 2007 by Michael J. Hassen Email This Post

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Class Action Defense Cases—In re Graphics Processing: Judicial Panel On Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) Grants Plaintiff's Motion To Centralize Class Action Litigation And Agrees Northern District of California Is Appropriate Transferee Court

Judicial Panel Grants Request, Supported by Defense, for Pretrial Coordination of Class Action Lawsuits Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 in the Northern District of California, Rejecting Request of Non-Moving Plaintiffs to Transfer Class Actions to Central District of California

Seven federal antitrust class action lawsuits were filed against various defendants alleging a “conspiracy to fix the price of graphics processing units, which are a type of specialized semiconductor”; all but one of these class actions were filed in the Northern District of California, with the remaining class action filed in the Central District of California. In re Graphics Processing Units Antitrust Litig., 483 F.Supp.2d 1356, 1356 (Jud.Pan.Mult.Lit. 2007). Plaintiffs’ lawyers in four of the Northern District actions filed a motion with the Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 requesting centralization of the class action litigation in the Northern District of California. Id. None of the parties opposed pretrial coordination of the class actions, but they did not agree on the appropriate transferee court. Defense attorneys for three of the defendants supported class action centralization and agreed with moving parties that the Northern District of California was the appropriate transferee court; however, plaintiffs in the three remaining class actions and plaintiffs in five tag-along class actions, while supporting centralization, argued for transfer to the Central District of California. Id. The Judicial Panel granted the motion to centralize the class actions and selected the Northern District of California because "[o]ver twenty of the actions of which the Panel has been notified have been brought in that district” and because “two of the defendants have their principal places of business there” so “relevant documents and witnesses are likely located in the San Francisco area." Id., at 1357.

Download PDF file of In re Graphics Processing Units Antitrust Litigation Transfer Order

Posted On: April 13, 2007 by Michael J. Hassen Email This Post

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Class Action Defense Cases—In re Vonage IPO: Judicial Panel On Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) Grants Defense Motion To Centralize Class Action Litigation In District of New Jersey

Judicial Panel Grants Defense Request for Pretrial Coordination of Class Action Lawsuits Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407, Rejecting Opposition by Plaintiffs in One Class Action based on Pending Motion for Remand of Class Action to State Court

Fourteen securities class action lawsuits – 13 in New Jersey and one in New York – were filed against various defendants based on the initial public offering of Vonage common stock. In re Vonage Initial Public Offering (IPO) Securities Litig., ___ F.Supp.2d ___, 2007 WL 128791, *1 (Jud.Pan.Mult.Lit. 2007). Defense attorneys for six of the defendants moved the Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) for centralization of the class actions pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407, but did not suggest an appropriate transferee court. Vonage and other parties later requested that the class actions be consolidated in the District of New Jersey; lead counsel for the New Jersey class action plaintiffs joined in that request. Id. The New York class action plaintiff opposed the motion, asserting that the federal court lacked jurisdiction over his class action complaint because he had filed a motion to remand the class action to state court. Id. The Judicial Panel granted the motion to centralize the class actions, finding that the lawsuits “involve common questions of fact” and that centralization “will serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses and promote the just and efficient conduct of the litigation.” Id. The Panel selected the District of New Jersey as the transferee court because “i) all but one of the actions in this docket were initially brought in that district; ii) Vonage is located in that district, and many of the relevant acts and transactions are alleged to have taken place there; and iii) no party supports centralization in any other district.” Id. The Panel rejected New York plaintiff’s federal jurisdiction argument, explaining that if his pending motion to remand the class action to state court is not resolved by the time of the transfer under section 1407, “[it] can be presented to and decided by the transferee judge.” Id. (citations omitted).

Download PDF file of In re Vonage IPO Transfer Order

Posted On: April 6, 2007 by Michael J. Hassen Email This Post

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Webloyalty.com Class Action Defense Case—In re Webloyalty.com: Judicial Panel On Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) Grants Motion To Centralize Class Action Litigation In The District Of Massachusetts

Judicial Panel Grants Request, Unopposed by Defense, for Pretrial Coordination of Class Action Lawsuits Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407

Four class action lawsuits (three in Massachusetts and one in California) were filed against Webloyalty.com and various other defendants alleging that they “engaged in a scheme to defraud consumers whose personal and/or credit card information was accessed by Webloyalty during online transactions (with the defendant web retailer(s) involved in each action) as part of Webloyalty's Reservation Rewards or other programs.” In re Webloyalty.com, Inc., Marketing & Sales Practices Litig., ___ F.Supp.2d ___, 2007 WL 549354, *1 (Jud.Pan.Mult.Lit. February 15, 2007). Plaintiffs in the three class actions pending in Massachusetts filed a motion with the Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) requesting centralization of the class action lawsuits pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 in the District of Massachusetts. Defense attorneys for the common defendant (Webloyalty), defense attorneys for the various individual defendants in each class action, and the California plaintiffs’ lawyer agreed that pretrial coordination was appropriate, and that the District of Massachusetts was the appropriate transferee court. Id. The Judicial Panel granted the motion to centralize the class actions. The Panel further agreed that the District of Massachusetts was the appropriate transferee court, explaining that in addition to the unanimous agreement of the parties, “Webloyalty is headquartered nearby and it is likely to be the source of a substantial number of witnesses and documents subject to discovery.” Id.

NOTE: The individual class action defendants included, among others, Fandango, Priceline.com, JustFlowers.com, GiftBasketsASAP.com and Valueclick.

Download PDF file of In re Webloyalty.com Transfer Order

Posted On: April 6, 2007 by Michael J. Hassen Email This Post

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Class Action Defense Cases—In re National Security Agency: Judicial Panel On Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) Denies Requests To Exclude Class Actions From Coordinated/Consolidated Pretrial Proceedings In The Northern District Of California

Judicial Panel Agrees with Government and Telecommunication Company Defense Attorneys that Six Additional Class Action Lawsuits Should be Transferred to Northern District of California for Pretrial Coordination or Consolidation with Class Actions Previously Transferred Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407

Several class action lawsuits were filed against the federal government challenging the government’s “surveillance of telecommunications activity and the participation in (or cooperation with) that surveillance by individual telecommunications companies.” In re National Security Agency Telecommunications Records Litig., ___ F.Supp.2d ___, 2007 WL 549355, *1 (Jud.Pan.Mult.Lit. February 15, 2007). In response to a motion to centralize that litigation, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) held in part that “centralization under Section 1407 was necessary in order to eliminate duplicative discovery, prevent inconsistent pretrial rulings (particularly with respect to matters involving national security),” and transferred the class action cases to the Northern District of California. Id. (citing In re National Security Agency Telecommunications Records Litig., 444 F.Supp.2d 1332, 1334 (Jud.Pan.Mult.Lit. 2006)). Plaintiffs in a class action pending in Missouri, together with defense attorneys involve in class actions pending in Connecticut, Maine, Missouri, New Jersey and Vermont, moved the Judicial Panel to vacate its orders conditionally transferring the affected class action cases to the Northern District of California for inclusion in the coordinated or consolidated pretrial proceedings; plaintiffs in the initially centralized actions joined in the motion, opposing transfer of the additional class actions. In re NSA Telecommunications, 2007 WL 549355 at *1. The United States and telecommunication company defendants opposed the motions to vacate.

The Judicial Panel denied the motions, reaffirming that these six class actions involve common questions of fact with the class actions previously centralized in the Northern District of California. In re NSA Telecommunications, 2007 WL 549355 at *1. The Panel concluded, “Transfer of these actions is appropriate for reasons expressed by the Panel in its original order directing centralization in this docket.” The Panel explained at page *1:

Continue reading "Class Action Defense Cases—In re National Security Agency: Judicial Panel On Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) Denies Requests To Exclude Class Actions From Coordinated/Consolidated Pretrial Proceedings In The Northern District Of California" »

Posted On: March 30, 2007 by Michael J. Hassen Email This Post

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Class Action Defense Cases—In re MERSCORP: Judicial Panel On Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) Grants Plaintiff's Motion Unopposed By Defense Attorneys To Centralize Class Action Litigation

Judicial Panel Grants Request, Unopposed by Defense, for Pretrial Coordination of Class Action Lawsuits Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 but Selects Southern District of Texas as Appropriate Transferee Court for Class Actions

Several class action lawsuits were filed against MERSCORP and Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. challenging mortgage loan registration fees and alleging that the fees violate the federal Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). In re MERSCORP Inc., et al., Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) Litig., 473 F.Supp.2d 1379, 1379 (Jud.Pan.Mult.Lit. 2007). Lawyers for all plaintiffs in the separate class action lawsuits filed a motion with the Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) requesting centralization of the class actions pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 in the Eastern District of Texas. Id. Defense attorneys agreed that pretrial coordination was appropriate, and agreed further that the Eastern District of Texas was the appropriate transferee court. Id. The Judicial Panel granted the motion to centralize the class actions, but noted that the Eastern District of Texas “declined the assignment due to its heavy caseload.” Id., at 1379-80. Accordingly, the Panel transferred the cases to the Southern District of Texas for pretrial proceedings. Id., at 1380.

Download PDF file of In re MERSCORP Transfer Order

Posted On: March 16, 2007 by Michael J. Hassen Email This Post

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Class Action Defense Cases—In re CitiFinancial: Judicial Panel On Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) Grants Plaintiff's Motion Supported By Defense To Centralize Class Action Litigation In Northern District of Illinois

Judicial Panel Agrees with Plaintiffs and Defense that Class Action Cases Warranted Pretrial Coordination Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407, Rejecting Arguments of Sole Plaintiff's Lawyer in Opposition to Request

Five class action lawsuits (Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri and Wisconsin) were filed against CitiFinancial Services and others alleging that certain prescreened mailings from Citifinancial violated the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) because defendants improperly used consumer reports for purposes of mailing prescreened offers of credit for loans to plaintiffs and potential class members. In re CitiFinancial Servs. Inc. Prescreened Offer Litig., ___ F.Supp.2d ___, 2007 WL 549358, *1 (Jud.Pan.Mult.Lit. February 15, 2007). Plaintiffs’ lawyers in the Connecticut and Illinois class actions moved the Judicial Panel filed a motion with the Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) requesting centralization of the five class action lawsuits pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 in the Northern District of Illinois. Defense attorneys for the common defendant (CitiFinancial) and plaintiff’s lawyer in the Massachusetts class action supported the motion; the Wisconsin plaintiff opposed centralization. Id. The Judicial Panel granted the motion to centralize the class actions and agreed that the Northern District of Illinois was the appropriate transferee court. Id., at *2.

The Judicial Panel rejected the objection that the classes and issues of fact in the five class actions did not overlap, explaining at page *1:

Regardless of any differences among the actions, they raise common factual questions regarding Citifinancial's prescreening practices. Transfer under Section 1407 has the salutary effect of placing all actions in this docket before a single judge who can formulate a pretrial program that: 1) allows discovery with respect to any non-common issues to proceed concurrently with discovery on common issues, In re Joseph F. Smith Patent Litigation, 407 F.Supp. 1403, 1404 (J.P.M.L. 1976); and 2) ensures that pretrial proceedings will be conducted in a streamlined manner leading to the just and expeditious resolution of all actions to the overall benefit of the parties and the judiciary.
Download PDF file of In re CitiFinancial Transfer Order

Posted On: March 16, 2007 by Michael J. Hassen Email This Post

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Class Action Defense Cases-In re Lycoming Crankshaft: Judicial Panel On Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) Denies Defense Request To Centralize Class Action Litigation In The Eastern District of Pennsylvania

Class Action Lawsuits did not Warrant Pretrial Coordination Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) Holds

Three class action lawsuits were filed in California and Pennsylvania against various defendants involving crankshaft products liability. Defense attorneys for some of the defendants moved the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 to centralize the lawsuits for pretrial purposes in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania; plaintiffs in all class actions opposed pretrial coordination. In re Lycoming Crankshaft Prods. Liab. Litig., 473 F.Supp.2d 1380, 1380-81 (Jud. Pan.Mult.Lit. 2007). The Panel denied the defense motion, concluding that centralization of the class action cases was not warranted. The Panel explained, "This docket contains only three actions (two of which have been consolidated before the same judge) pending in two districts, and no overlap exists between the putative classes in the Pennsylvania actions and the California action. The proponents of centralization have failed to persuade us that any common questions of fact and law are sufficiently complex and/or numerous to justify Section 1407 transfer in this docket at this time. Alternatives to transfer exist that can minimize whatever possibilities there might be of duplicative discovery and/or inconsistent pretrial rulings." Id., at 1381 (citations omitted).

Posted On: March 16, 2007 by Michael J. Hassen Email This Post

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CertainTeed Class Action Defense Case—In re CertainTeed: Judicial Panel On Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) Grants Plaintiff's Motion To Centralize Class Action Litigation But Selects Northern District of Illinois As Transferee Court

Judicial Panel Grants Request, Unopposed by Defense, for Pretrial Coordination of Class Action Lawsuits Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 in the Easter District of Pennsylvania

Eight class action lawsuits were filed against CertainTeed Corp. and other defendants advancing negligence and products liability based on alleged defects in roofing shingles manufactured, warranted, and distributed by CertainTeed. In re CertainTeed Corp. Roofing Shingle Prods. Liab. Litig., ___ F.Supp.2d ___, 2007 WL 549356, *1 (Jud.Pan.Mult.Lit. February 15, 2007). Plaintiff's lawyer in one of the Pennsylvania class actions filed a motion with the Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) requesting centralization of the class actions pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania; defense attorneys for the common defendant (CertainTeed) supported the motion. Id. The Judicial Panel reasoned that “Centralization under Section 1407 is necessary in order to eliminate duplicative discovery; prevent inconsistent pretrial rulings, particularly with respect to issues of class certification; and conserve the resources of the parties, their counsel and the judiciary.” Id. The Panel also found that the Eastern District of Pennsylvania “stands out as an appropriate transferee forum” in light of the “agreement of all moving and responding parties to transfer,” id. Additionally, CertainTeed is headquartered in that district, as is its business unit responsible for the roofing shingles in question. Id.

Download PDF file of In re CertainTeed Transfer Order

Posted On: March 9, 2007 by Michael J. Hassen Email This Post

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Class Action Defense Cases-In re New Century Mortgage: Judicial Panel On Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) Denies Defense Request To Centralize Class Action Litigation In The Central District of California

Class Action Lawsuits did not Warrant Pretrial Coordination Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) Holds

Three class action lawsuits were filed in Indiana and California against New Century Financial, New Century Mortgage and Home123; Indiana plaintiffs' lawyer moved the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) to centralize the lawsuits for pretrial purposes in the Northern District of Indiana, but then moved to withdraw the request "asserting that they have reached an agreement with plaintiff in [one of] the Central District of California [cases] . . . that negates their need for transfer." In re New Century Mortgage Corp. Prescreening Litig., 473 F.Supp.2d 1383, 1383 (Jud. Pan.Mult.Lit. 2007). Defense attorneys opposed withdrawal of the motion and requested that the cases transferred to Indiana; plaintiffs in both Central District of California cases opposed centralization. Id. The Panel denied the motion, concluding that centralization was not warranted. The Panel explained, "In this docket containing just three actions pending in two districts, which were originally filed over a year ago, the proponents of centralization have failed to persuade us that any common questions of fact and law are sufficiently complex and/or numerous to justify Section 1407 transfer in this docket at this time. Alternatives to transfer exist that can minimize whatever possibilities there might be of duplicative discovery and/or inconsistent pretrial rulings." Id., at 1384 (citations omitted).

Posted On: March 9, 2007 by Michael J. Hassen Email This Post

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Bluetooth Class Action Defense Case—In re Bluetooth Headset: Judicial Panel On Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) Grants Plaintiff Motion Joined In By Defense Attorneys To Centralize Class Action Litigation In The Central District Of California

Judicial Panel Agrees Pretrial Coordination Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 is Warranted for Class Actions Involving Bluetooth Headsets and Grants Request, Supported by Defense and Plaintiffs in Other Class Actions, to Centralize Litigation in Central District of California

Numerous class action lawsuits – seeking both statewide and nationwide class certification – were filed in several states against Motorola, Plantronics, GN Jabra North America and GN Netcom, “seek[ing] relief under various theories of liability, such as unjust enrichment, breach of express and/or implied warranties, and strict products liability” based on the central allegation that use of Bluetooth headsets may cause hearing loss. In re Bluetooth Headset Prods. Liab. Litig., ___ F.Supp.2d ___, 2007 WL 603063, *1 (Jud. Pan.Mult.Lit. February 20, 2007). Plaintiffs in a California class action filed a motion with the Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) to centralize the lawsuits for pretrial purposes in the Central District of California, where four of the class action cases already were pending and where Plantronics is headquartered; defense attorneys and plaintiffs’ lawyers supported the request. Id. The Judicial Panel agreed that pretrial coordination under 28 U.S.C. § 1407, and further agreed to the transferee location recommended by the moving plaintiffs.

Download PDF file of In re Bluetooth Headset Transfer Order

Posted On: March 2, 2007 by Michael J. Hassen Email This Post

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Class Action Defense Cases-In re Movie Artwork: Judicial Panel On Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) Denies Defense Motion To Centralize Class Action Litigation In The Central District of California

Class Action Lawsuits Involving Copyright and Trademark Infringement Claims did not Warrant Pretrial Coordination Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) Holds

Four class action lawsuits were filed against several defendants alleging various copyright and trademark infringement claims involving "different copyrights and trademarks owned by different entities and covering different movie and cartoon characters." In re Movie Artwork Copyright Litig., 473 F.Supp.2d 1381, 1382 (Jud. Pan.Mult.Lit. February 7, 2007). Defense lawyers for certain defendants in the class actions moved the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) to centralize the lawsuits for pretrial purposes in the Central District of California. Id. Plaintiffs in all four class action lawsuits opposed centralization. The Panel denied the defense motion, concluding that centralization was not warranted. Id. The Panel explained, "No common intellectual property is at issue. The asserted common factual questions identified by defendants appear to be either simply a generic listing of elements found in virtually every copyright and trademark infringement action, or issues that arise in any situation involving multiple actions brought against a common defendant or defendants." Id. At bottom, the Judicial Panel held that "movants have failed to persuade us that any common questions of fact and law are sufficiently complex and/or numerous to justify Section 1407 transfer under the current circumstances." Id.

NOTE: The Judicial Panel apparently was influenced by the fact that the class action pending in the Central District of California was set for trial in April 2007 and that centralization would likely result in postponement of the trial date. In re Movie Artwork, at 1382. Thus, the Panel opined that "[c]entralization would also likely delay the progress of one or more of the four actions," id.