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 District of New Jersey
Six class actions – two in Massachusetts and one each in Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania – were filed against Staples alleging violations of state and federal labor laws; specifically, the class action complaints allege that Staples failed to pay its assistant, operations and/or sales managers overtime pay under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and/or various state wage and hour statutes. In re Staples, Inc., Wage & Hour Employment Practices Litig., ___ F.Supp.2d ___ (Jud.Pan.Mult.Lit. April 14, 2009) [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 District of New Jersey or Massachusetts, id. No one opposed the motion; four groups of class action plaintiffs supported the selection of New Jersey, while plaintiffs in the other two class actions favored Connecticut. Id. In the end, all parties agreed on New Jersey as the appropriate transferee court, id. The Judicial Panel granted the motion to centralize the class action lawsuits and agreed that the District of New Jersey was the appropriate transferee court because “(1) this choice is supported by all parties at least in the alternative, and (2) this district is already presiding over a similar action against Staples which is in its final stages.” Id.