Judicial Panel Grants Defense Request for Pretrial Coordination of Class Action Lawsuits Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407, Unopposed by Class Action Plaintiffs, and Transfers Actions to Southern District of New York
Six class actions – three in California, and one each in Kansas, Missouri and New York – were filed against Time Warner and Time Warner Cable, and others, alleging violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act. In re Set-Top Cable Television Box Antitrust Litig., ___ F.Supp.2d ___ (Jud.Pan.Mult.Lit. December 8, 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 Southern District of New York; plaintiffs in two of the California class actions and plaintiffs in the Kansas, Missouri and New York class action all supported the motion, but argued that the class actions should be centralized in the District of Kansas. Id. The Judicial Panel granted the motion to centralize the class action lawsuits because “All actions allege that Time Warner improperly tied and bundled the lease of cable boxes to the ability to obtain premium cable services in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act.” Id. The Panel also agreed with defense attorneys that the Southern District of New York would best serve as the appropriate transferee court, because “Time Warner is headquartered there, and relevant documents and witnesses will likely be located in that district.” Id. Accordingly, the Judicial Panel ordered all of the class actions transferred to the Southern District of New York, id., at 2.