Judicial Panel Grants Plaintiffs’ Request for Pretrial Coordination of Class Action Lawsuits Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407, Opposed by Only One Group Class Action Plaintiffs, and Transfers Actions to Eastern District of New York
Eight class actions – four in New Jersey, two in Illinois and one each in California and New York – were filed against Bayer and various other defendants challenging “Bayer’s marketing and sale of Bayer Aspirin with Heart Advantage or Bayer Women’s Low-Dose Aspirin Plus Calcium, or both.” In re Bayer Corp. Combination Aspirin Products Marketing & Sales Practices Litig., ___ F.Supp.2d ___ (Jud.Pan.Mult.Lit. April 14, 2009) [Slip Opn., at 1]. Specifically, the class actions alleged “Bayer marketed these products without approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration and deceived the plaintiffs and putative class members with respect to the safety and efficacy of the products.” Id., at 2. Plaintiffs’ lawyers in three of the class actions filed motions with the Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) requesting centralization of the class actions pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 in the district courts in which their own class action lawsuits were pending; plaintiffs in the California class action opposed centralization until the district court had ruled on their motion to remand their class action to state court. Id., at 1. Defense attorneys for two Bayer entities supported centralization of all of the class actions, including the California class action, in either Illinois or New York, id. At oral argument, the moving parties supported centralization in the Eastern District of New York, id. The Judicial Panel granted the motion to centralize the class action lawsuits, id. The Panel further agreed that the Eastern District of New York was the appropriate transferee court, as it was supported by all parties and as Bayer is headquartered in New York “albeit in another federal district.” Id., at 2.