Judicial Panel Grants Request, Unopposed by Defense, for Pretrial Coordination of Class Action Lawsuits Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 and Concurs with Request to Transfer Class Actions to District of South Carolina
Antitrust class action lawsuits were filed in Illinois and South Carolina against various moving companies for violation of the Sherman Act arising from the allegation that defendants entered into an agreement concerning the method for calculating fuel surcharges. In re Household Goods Movers Antitrust Litig., 502 F.Supp.2d 1356, 2007 WL 2386409, *1 (Jud.Pan.Mult.Lit. 2007). Plaintiff’s lawyer in the South Carolina 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 that district; defense attorneys agreed that pretrial coordination was appropriate, as did plaintiffs in the Illinois class action. Id. Even though only two class actions had been filed, the Judicial Panel granted the motion to centralize the class actions concluding that centralization “will eliminate duplicative discovery; prevent inconsistent pretrial rulings, especially with respect to class certification; and conserve the resources of the parties, their counsel and the judiciary.” Id. The Panel also concurred that the District of South Carolina was an appropriate transferee court “because the first-filed and more advanced action is pending there, and all responding parties favor centralization in the District of South Carolina.” Id.