Judicial Panel Grants Defense Request for Pretrial Coordination of Class Action Lawsuits Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407, Unopposed by Class Action Plaintiffs, and Transfers Actions to Northern District of Illinois
Seven class actions were filed against defendants Spin Master Ltd. and Spin Master, Inc. in six federal district courts – one in New Jersey and one in Pennsylvania – arising out of the “design and manufacture of Aqua Dots” and/or challenging “the adequacy of the November 2007 voluntary recall of this product.” In re Aqua Dots Products Liab. Litig., ___ F.Supp.2d ___ (Jud.Pan.Mult.Lit. April 9, 2008) [Slip Opn., at 1]. Defense attorneys filed a motion with the Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) requesting centralization of the class actions pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 in the Northern District of Illinois or, alternatively in the Eastern District of Arkansas; all responding parties supported pretrial coordination though they recommended various competing districts as the appropriate transferee court. Id. At oral argument, all parties agreed on the Northern District of Illinois. Id. The Judicial Panel granted the motion to centralize the class action lawsuits, explaining at page 1 that the lawsuits involved common questions of fact and that centralization “will eliminate duplicative discovery; avoid inconsistent pretrial rulings–especially on the issue of class certification; and conserve the resources of the parties, their counsel and the judiciary.” Id. The Judicial Panel also agreed that the Northern District of Illinois was the appropriate transferee court “because (1) the Illinois district is relatively conveniently located in relation to documents and witnesses located at Spin Master Ltd.’s Canadian headquarters, and (2) all parties now agree upon centralization in this district.” Id., at 2.