Judicial Panel Grants Defense Request for Pretrial Coordination of Class Action Lawsuits Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 but Rejects Defense Request to Centralize Class Actions in Maryland or New Jersey, Instead Transferring the Class Actions to the District of Massachusetts
Nine class action lawsuits were filed against Wellnx Life Sciences and others seeking damages for strict liability, fraud and unjust enrichment arising from the manufacture, marketing and sale of Wellnx Slimquick and/or NV products, and several class actions alleged that the marketing and sale of the products violated various state consumer protection laws. In re Wellnx Marketing & Sale Prac. Litig., 505 F.Supp.2d 1380, 1380 (Jud.Pan.Mult.Lit. 2007). 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 District of Maryland or the District of New Jersey. Id. All plaintiffs responding to the motion supported pretrial coordination, but argued alternatively for Arizona, Massachusetts or New Jersey as the appropriate transferee court. Id. The Judicial Panel granted the motion to centralize the class actions, agreeing that it would “eliminate duplicative discovery; prevent inconsistent pretrial rulings; and conserve the resources of the parties, their counsel and the judiciary.” Id., at 1381. The Panel concluded that the District of Massachusetts was the appropriate transferee court, but did not explain its reasoning for that selection. Id.