Faced with Three Motions for Centralization, Judicial Panel Grants Plaintiffs’ Request for Pretrial Coordination of Class Action Lawsuits Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407, Unopposed by Responding Class Action Plaintiffs and Defendants, and Transfers Class Actions to Northern District of Illinois
Sixteen (16) class actions – filed in federal courts in the District of Columbia, Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, and Texas – were filed against various defendants alleging violations of federal antitrust laws; 15 additional and related class actions also were filed, and were treated as potential tag-along class actions. In re Text Messaging Antitrust Litig., ___ F.Supp.2d ___ (Jud.Pan.Mult.Lit. December 3, 2008) [Slip Opn., at 1 and n.1]. According to the class actions, the defendants “conspired to fix, raise, maintain, and stabilize the price of text messaging services sold in the United States in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act.” Id., at 2. Three separate motions were filed with the Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) requesting centralization of the class actions pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407: plaintiffs in two of the Illinois class actions sought centralization there or in New Jersey; plaintiffs in the Louisiana class action sought centralization there or in Ohio; plaintiffs in the District of Columbia class action sought centralization there. Id., at 1. All responding parties agreed that centralization was appropriate, and “variously support[ed] one or more of the suggested transferee districts or the following districts: the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the District of Puerto Rico, or the Western District of Washington.” Id. The Judicial Panel granted the motion to centralize the class action lawsuits, and decided that the Northern District of Illinois was the appropriate transferee court because (1) 6 class actions were already pending in that district and (2) it “provides a relatively central forum for this nationwide litigation.” Id., at 2.