Judicial Panel Grants Plaintiffs’ Request for Pretrial Coordination of Class Action Lawsuits Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 and Transfers Class Actions to Eastern District of Louisiana
Four class action lawsuits were filed against various defendants alleging “that trailers – provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the wake of Hurricanes Rita and Katrina – contain materials which emit dangerous, excessive levels of formaldehyde.” In re FEMA Trailer Formaldehyde Prod. Liab. Litig., ___ F.Supp.2d ___ (Jud.Pan.Mult.Lit. October 24, 2007) [Slip Opn., at 1]. Plaintiff lawyers in one action pending in the Eastern District of Louisiana 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, and all plaintiffs in the other class actions supported the motion. Id. Defense attorneys opposed pretrial coordination of the class action litigation, but supported plaintiffs’ choice of the Eastern District of Louisiana if the motion was granted. Id. The Judicial Panel granted the motion to centralize the class action lawsuits, concluding that this would “eliminate duplicative discovery; avoid inconsistent pretrial rulings, especially with respect to class certification; and conserve the resources of the parties, their counsel and the judiciary.” Id. Accordingly, the Panel ordered all class actions pending outside that district transferred to the Eastern District of Louisiana. Id., at 2.