Judicial Panel Grants Unopposed Defense Request for Pretrial Coordination Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 for Centralization of Class Action Lawsuits
Four putative class action lawsuits were filed against InPhonic in the District of Columbia, Illinois and New Jersey (followed by several tag-along suits) alleging violations of various state consumer protection statutes and common law claims, and – in some cases – violations of the Federal Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). The class action claims were based on InPhonic’s alleged failure to adequately disclose the rebate conditions associated with the purchase of wireless telephones and service plans, failure to honor rebates or delay in processing rebates. In re InPhonic, Inc., Wireless Phone Rebate Litig., 460 F.Supp.2d 1380 (Jud. Pan.Mult.Lit. 2006). The Judicial Panel agreed that centralization was warranted under 28 U.S.C. § 1407, and selected the District of Columbia as the appropriate transferee court, explaining:
This district is where many relevant documents and witnesses are likely to be found, inasmuch as InPhonic’s headquarters and related offices are located in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. Further, since the District of Columbia is the situs of related court proceedings (an action brought by the Attorney General of the District of Columbia), centralization in the District of District of Columbia carries the added benefit of fostering coordinated discovery between the federal and local proceedings, should such a need arise.