Judicial Panel Finds Good Cause for Centralization of Class Action Lawsuits Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 as Requested by Defense and Plaintiffs
Nine class action lawsuits were filed against Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Sony Corporation of America, Bertelsmann Music Group, Inc., Bertelsmann, Inc., Universal Music Group, Inc., Time Warner Inc., Warner Music Group Corp. and EMI Music North America (defendants), alleging “on behalf of purported classes of indirect purchasers, that the various defendants illegally conspired to artificially fix or maintain the prices of digitally formatted music offered for sale on the internet in violation of 1) Section 1 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1, 2) various states’ antitrust and consumer protection statutes, and/or 3) state common law such as unjust enrichment.” In re Digital Music Antitrust Litig., 444 F.Supp.2d 1351, 1352 (Jud. Pan.Mult.Lit. 2006). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407, defense and plaintiff lawyers moved the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) to centralize the lawsuits for pretrial purposes in either the Southern District of New York or the Northern District of California. The motion was unopposed. Id., at 1351-52. The Judicial Panel granted the motion, agreeing that the class action complaints involved common factual allegations and that centralization for pretrial purposes would “eliminate duplicative discovery; prevent inconsistent pretrial rulings; and conserve the resources of the parties, their counsel and the judiciary.” Id., at 1352. The Panel also concluded that the Southern District of New York would be the appropriate transferee court, and noted that this choice was supported by the defense as well as by some of the plaintiffs. Id.