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.