Judicial Panel Grants Defense Request for Pretrial Coordination of Two Class Action Lawsuits Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407, Opposed by Illinois Class Action Plaintiffs, and Transfers Actions to Central District of California
Two putative nationwide class actions were filed in the Central District of California and the Northern District of Illinois against Toys “R” Us alleging violations of the federal Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA); specifically, the class action complaints allege that defendant printed “certain credit and debit card information on customer receipts” in violation of FACTA.” In re Toys “R” Us – Delaware, Inc., Fair & Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) Litig., ___ F.Supp.2d ___ (Jud.Pan.Mult.Lit. October 9, 2008) [Slip Opn., at 1]. Defense attorneys 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 Central District of California; plaintiffs in California class action – which is “significantly more advanced” than the Illinois action – did not oppose the motion, but plaintiffs in the Illinois class action did oppose the motion. Id. The Illinois class action plaintiff argued in part that centralization was unnecessary because there are only two actions pending; the Judicial Panel, however, concluded, “Although only two actions are now pending, they are brought on behalf of nearly identical putative nationwide classes, and there is a risk of inconsistent rulings on class certification.” Id. Even though there were only two actions, centralization was appropriate under Section 1407 because “[it] will eliminate duplicative discovery; prevent inconsistent pretrial rulings, especially with respect to class certification; and conserve the resources of the parties, their counsel and the judiciary.” Id. Accordingly, the Judicial Panel granted the motion to centralize the class action lawsuits and agreed that the Central District of California was the appropriate transferee court because the “first-filed action has been pending there for almost two years.” Id., at 1-2.