Judicial Panel Grants Plaintiff Request for Pretrial Coordination of Class Action Lawsuits Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407, Unopposed by Class Action Plaintiff or by any Class Action Defendants, and Transfers Class Actions to Northern District of California
Two class actions – one in the Central District of California and one in the Northern District of California – were filed against Air New Zealand and other airlines alleging antitrust violations; specifically, each class action alleged that “[the] airline defendants conspired to fix the price of passenger airfares for flights between the United States and transpacific destinations in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act.” In re Transpacific Passenger Air Transportation Antitrust Litig., ___ F.Supp.2d ___ (Jud.Pan.Mult.Lit. February 19, 2008) [Slip Opn., at 1]. In addition, 13 potentially-related class action lawsuits also had been filed. Plaintiff lawyers in the Northern District class action 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 Northern District of California; plaintiffs in the Central District class action did not oppose the motion, nor did any of the class action defendants. Id. However, the parties each argued in support of three different federal judges to handle the class action litigation in the Northern District, id. The Judicial Panel granted the motion to centralize the class action lawsuits and agreed that the Northern District of California was the appropriate transferee court. Id. The Panel selected Judge Charles Breyer to handle the litigation, and ordered the matters transferred to him. Id., at 1-2.