Judicial Panel Grants Request, Unopposed by Defense, for Pretrial Coordination of Class Action Lawsuits Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 but Rejects Plaintiff’s Request to Transfer Class Actions to District of Delaware
Five class action lawsuits were filed in three federal district courts (two in Massachusetts and New Jersey, and one in Florida) against Schering-Plough alleging that it “improperly engaged in the promotion of certain prescription medications for off-label purposes.” In re Schering Marketing & Sales Prac. Litig. (No. II), 502 F.Supp.2d 1353, 1353-54 (Jud.Pan.Mult.Lit. 2007). Plaintiff’s lawyer in one of the New Jersey class actions filed a motion with the Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) requesting centralization of the class action lawsuits pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 in the District of Arizona or Massachusetts, id., at 1353. All responding parties agreed that pretrial coordination was appropriate but could not agree on the appropriate transferee court, arguing alternatively for centralization in Florida, Massachusetts or New Jersey. Id. The Judicial Panel granted the motion to centralize the class actions and selected the District of New Jersey because “(1) two related actions have been originally filed there and three other related actions (originally filed in the District of Arizona or the Eastern District of Pennsylvania) have been transferred there under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), and (2) pretrial proceedings in the actions now pending in the District of New Jersey are already underway before Judge Stanley R. Chester.” Id., at 1354 (footnote omitted).