Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) Grants Motions by Defense and Plaintiffs to Centralize Class Action Antitrust Cases under 28 U.S.C. § 1407 for Pretrial Purposes
Several class action lawsuits were filed against Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Sony Corporation of America, Bertelsmann Music Group, Bertelsmann, Inc., Universal Music Group, Time Warner, Warner Music Group and EMI Music North America alleging “that the various defendants illegally conspired to artificially fix or maintain the prices of digitally formatted music offered for sale on the internet in violation of 1) Section 1 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1, 2) various states’ antitrust and consumer protection statutes, and/or 3) state common law such as unjust enrichment.” In re Digital Music Antitrust Litig., ___ F.Supp.2d ___, 2006 WL 2422644 (Jud.Pan.Mult.Lit., August 16, 2006), Slip Opn., at 2. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407, the defense filed a motion with Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) seeking centralization of the lawsuits for pretrial purposes in the Southern District of New York; the plaintiffs’ lawyer for an action pending the Southern District of New York filed a motion with the Judicial Panel seeking the same order. Other plaintiff attorneys sought transfer to the Northern District of California. Id., at 1.
The Panel granted the motions to centralize the actions under 28 U.S.C. § 1407, and agreed that the Southern District of New York was the appropriate transferee court: “Most defendants are headquartered in the Southern District of New York, and some relevant witnesses and documents may be located there. Moreover, this district enjoys the support of the defendants as well as some plaintiffs in this litigation.” In re Digital Music, at 2.