Judicial Panel Grants Defense Request for Pretrial Coordination of Class Action Lawsuits Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407, Unopposed by Class Action Plaintiffs, but Transfers Actions to Western District of Oklahoma
Four class actions – two in Louisiana and one in Arizona and Georgia – were filed against various defendants, including Cox Enterprises, Cox Communications, Cox Communications Louisiana, Cox Communications New Orleans, and CoxCom (collectively “the Cox defendants”), together with an additional 14 potentially-related class action alleging antitrust violations; specifically, the class action complaints allege “that Cox 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.” In re Cox Enterprises, Inc., Set-Top Cable Television Box Antitrust Litig., ___ F.Supp.2d ___ (Jud.Pan.Mult.Lit. June 10, 2008) [Slip Opn., at 1 and n.1]. Defense attorneys for the Cox defendants 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 Middle District of Georgia; plaintiffs in both class actions supported the motion. Id., at 1. Plaintiffs in two of the class actions and 5 of the potentially-related actions supported the motion but requested transfer to the Eastern District of Louisiana, while plaintiffs in the other two class actions and 2 of the potentially-related actions supported the motion but requested centralization in the Western District of Oklahoma, id. The Judicial Panel granted the motion to centralize the class action lawsuits but selected the Western District of Oklahoma as the appropriate transferee court, id., at 1-2. The Panel explained that “[a] potentially related action is pending in that district,” and that “Judge Robin J. Cauthron has the time and experience to steer this litigation on an expeditious course.” Id., at 1.