Judicial Panel Grants Defense Request for Pretrial Coordination of Class Action Lawsuits Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407and Transfers Actions to District of Maryland
Four (4) class action lawsuits were filed in Arizona, Florida, Illinois and New York against various defendants, including Michelin North America and American Honda Motor relating to the PAX “run-flat” tire system manufactured by Michelin and installed in certain Hondas and Acuras sold in the United States. In re Michelin North Am., Inc. PAX Sys. Marketing & Sales Prac. Litig., ___ F.Supp.2d ___ (Jud.Pan.Mult.Lit. February 15, 2008) [Slip Opn., at 1]. Defense attorneys for Michelin filed a motion with the Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) requesting centralization of the class action litigation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 in the District of Maryland; defense attorneys for Honda supported the motion. Id. All plaintiffs agreed that pretrial coordination was appropriate, but they argued for transfer to the Northern District of Illinois. Id. The Judicial Panel granted the motion to centralize the class action lawsuits, concluding that this “will eliminate duplicative discovery; avoid inconsistent pretrial rulings; and conserve the resources of the parties, their counsel and the judiciary.” Id. The Panel also agreed with defense attorneys that the District of Maryland was the appropriate transferee court, noting that “the wave of putative statewide class action lawsuits relating to the PAX System began with an action removed to the District of Maryland” and that the Maryland district court judge has “had an opportunity to familiarize himself with issues in this litigation.” Id., at 2.