Judicial Panel Grants Defense Request for Pretrial Coordination of Class Action Lawsuits Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 and Transfers Actions to Western District of Washington
Seven (7) class action lawsuits (5 in Washington and 2 in New York) were filed against various defendants, including Washington Mutual, “arising from alleged misrepresentations or omissions concerning WaMu’s financial condition with respect to its subprime home loan portfolio.” In re Washington Mutual, Inc., Securities, Derivative & “ERISA” Litig., ___ F.Supp.2d ___ (Jud.Pan.Mult.Lit. February 21, 2008) [Slip Opn., at 1]. Defense attorneys for common defendant Washington Mutual filed a motion with the Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) requesting centralization of the class action litigation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 in the Western District of Washington, where five class actions already were pending; no party opposed pretrial coordination, but plaintiffs’ lawyers in the New York class actions argued for that district as the transferee court. Id. The Judicial Panel granted the motion to centralize the class action lawsuits and agreed with the defense that the Western District of Washington was the appropriate transferee court because most of the actions were pending there and because WaMu is headquartered in Seattle. Id., at 1-2.