Judicial Panel Grants Plaintiff Request for Pretrial Coordination of Class Action Lawsuits Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407, Rejects Request of Overwhelming Majority of Responding Parties for Transfer to Northern District of Illinois, and Transfers Actions to Eastern District of Pennsylvania as Requested by Moving Party
Nine class actions –three each in Illinois and Pennsylvania, and one each in the Eastern and Northern Districts of California, and the Southern District of West Virginia – were filed against Comcast and others alleging antitrust violations; specifically, the class action complaints allege that “Comcast 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 Comcast Corp. Set-Top Cable Television Box Antitrust Litig., ___ F.Supp.2d ___ (Jud.Pan.Mult.Lit. June 17, 2009) [Slip Opn., at 1]. Plaintiffs in one of the Pennsylvania class actions 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 Eastern District of Pennsylvania; defendants and plaintiffs in six of the class actions supported pretrial coordination but argued for transfer to the Northern District of Illinois. Id. The Judicial Panel granted the motion to centralize the class action lawsuits and agreed with the moving party that the Eastern District of Pennsylvania was the appropriate transferee court, particularly as it was “Comcast is headquartered there, and relevant documents and witnesses will likely be located in that district.” Id., at 1-2.