Judicial Panel Grants Request, Unopposed by Defense, for Pretrial Coordination of Class Action Lawsuits Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 and Transfers Class Actions to District of New Jersey
Thirteen (13) lawsuits putative class actions were filed against Menu Foods asserting products liability claims arising out of the sale of allegedly tainted pet food products. In re Pet Food Products Liab. Litig., 499 F.Supp.2d 1346, 1346-47 (Jud.Pan.Mult.Lit. 2007). Three motions were filed with the Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) requesting centralization with the class action lawsuits pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407, id., at 1346; the Judicial Panel was also advised that as many as 97 additional class action and individual lawsuits had been filed, which would be treated as “tag-along” actions, id. n.1. While all responding parties – plaintiff and defense – agreed that pretrial coordination was warranted, they disagreed on the appropriate transferee court, id., at 1346-47. Defense attorneys agreed that pretrial coordination was appropriate, but argued that the Northern District of Illinois was the appropriate transferee court, id., at 1347. Plaintiffs’ lawyers, on the other hand, requested transfer to New Jersey, Washington, Tennessee, Arkansas, California and Ohio. Id., at 1346-47. The Judicial Panel granted the motion to centralize the class actions and selected the District of New Jersey because “[p]retrial proceedings are advancing well there and about one-third of all pending actions are already in this district.” Id., at 1347.