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).