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 Texas
Nineteen (19) class actions – seven in the District of New Jersey; two in the Southern District of Texas; and one each in the Middle District of Alabama, the District of Arizona, the Eastern District of California, the Southern District of California, the Northern District of Florida, the Southern District of Florida, the District of Kansas, the Western District of Missouri, the Northern District of Ohio, and the Eastern District of Wisconsin – were filed against Heartland Payments Systems arising from an “electronic intrusion into Heartland’s processing system.” In re Heartland Payment Systems, Inc., Customer Data Security Breach Litig., ___ F.Supp.2d ___ (Jud.Pan.Mult.Lit. June 10, 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 Southern District of Texas; plaintiffs in four (4) class actions supported the motion, while plaintiffs in two (2) class actions requested centralization in the District of New Jersey, and other plaintiffs “variously support centralization in the aforementioned districts, the District of Kansas, or the Southern District of Florida, in the alternative.” Id. The Judicial Panel granted the motion to centralize the class action lawsuits and agreed that the Southern District of Texas was the appropriate transferee court, explaining that the parties believe relevant discovery is located in that district and that the district court judge “has the time and experience to steer this litigation on a prudent course.” Id., at 2.