Judicial Panel Denies Request for Pretrial Coordination of Class Action Lawsuits Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 Because Class Action Certification Motions had been Granted in Four of the Five Cases and Fact Discovery Completed in Three of the Class Actions
Five class action lawsuits were filed against Allianz Life Insurance of North America challenging its deferred annuity marketing and sales practices. In re Allianz Life Ins. Co. of N. Am. Deferred Annuity Marketing & Sales Practices Litig., ___ F.Supp.2d ___, 2007 WL 1853954, *1 (Jud.Pan.Mult.Lit. Oct. 10, 2007). Plaintiff’s lawyer in the two Central District of California class actions 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 opposed pretrial coordination, but alternatively argued that the District of Minnesota was the appropriate transferee court, id. The plaintiffs in the other three class actions also opposed centralization, though the Minnesota plaintiffs joined defense counsel in requesting transfer to Minnesota if the Judicial Panel granted the motion. Id. The Judicial Panel denied the motion to centralize the class actions because it was “not persuaded that Section 1407 centralization would serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses or further the just and efficient conduct of this litigation.” Id. A significant factor in the Panel’s determination was the “significantly advanced stage” of four of the class actions – “Classes have been certified in those four actions, and fact discovery has been completed (or is nearing completion) in three of them.” Id. Accordingly, the Panel denied the motion.