Judicial Panel Grants Request, Supported by Defense, for Pretrial Coordination of Class Action Lawsuits Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 in the Northern District of California, Rejecting Request of Non-Moving Plaintiffs to Transfer Class Actions to Central District of California
Seven federal antitrust class action lawsuits were filed against various defendants alleging a “conspiracy to fix the price of graphics processing units, which are a type of specialized semiconductor”; all but one of these class actions were filed in the Northern District of California, with the remaining class action filed in the Central District of California. In re Graphics Processing Units Antitrust Litig., 483 F.Supp.2d 1356, 1356 (Jud.Pan.Mult.Lit. 2007). Plaintiffs’ lawyers in four of the Northern District actions filed a motion with the Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 requesting centralization of the class action litigation in the Northern District of California. Id. None of the parties opposed pretrial coordination of the class actions, but they did not agree on the appropriate transferee court. Defense attorneys for three of the defendants supported class action centralization and agreed with moving parties that the Northern District of California was the appropriate transferee court; however, plaintiffs in the three remaining class actions and plaintiffs in five tag-along class actions, while supporting centralization, argued for transfer to the Central District of California. Id. The Judicial Panel granted the motion to centralize the class actions and selected the Northern District of California because “[o]ver twenty of the actions of which the Panel has been notified have been brought in that district” and because “two of the defendants have their principal places of business there” so “relevant documents and witnesses are likely located in the San Francisco area.” Id., at 1357.