Judicial Panel Grants Plaintiffs’ Request, Unopposed by Defense, for Pretrial Coordination of 25 Antitrust Class Action Lawsuits Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407, and Transfers Class Actions to Central District of California
Twenty-five class action lawsuits were filed in six (6) federal district courts (10 in the Northern District and 2 in the Central District of California, 10 in the Western District of Washington, and 1 each in Massachusetts, Nevada and the Eastern District of New York) against Korean Air Lines and Asiana Airlines alleging that they “conspired to fix prices of passenger airfares between the United States and Korea in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act.” In re Korean Air Lines Co., Ltd., Antitrust Litig., ___ F.Supp.2d ___ (Jud.Pan.Mult.Lit. December 19, 2007) [Slip Opn., at 1]. Plaintiff lawyers in three of the actions moved the Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) for centralization of the class action litigation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407, each requesting transfer to the court in which their respective action was pending – viz., the Western District of Washington, the Northern District of California, or the Central District of California. Id. All responding parties supported pretrial coordination but they could not agree on an appropriate transferee court and, in fact, added requests for transfer to Massachusetts and New York into the mix. Id. The Judicial Panel granted the motion to centralize the class action lawsuits and selected the Central District of California because, in addition to the two actions already pending in that district, 16 potential tag-along class actions also had been filed in that district. Id. Additionally, the Panel selected the Central District of California for the consolidated class action litigation to proceed because each defendant “maintain[s] their primary domestic office in Los Angeles, where discovery may be found.” Id. Accordingly, all class actions pending outside the Central District of California were ordered transferred there, id., at 2.